When Karachi-like plane crash happened in Patna: 60 died, 3 had miraculous escape

That airport is very far from the city is a constant complaint of fliers until a mishap takes place due to multi-storey buildings in the vicinity of the runway. What happened in Karachi with a Pakistani passenger airbus stamps this fact once again.

The aircraft brushed through the only four-storey building near the airport, and went up in flames after the crash. This is something very close to what had happened in Patna, Bihar some 20 years ago.

A plane, Alliance Air Boeing-737, crashed minutes before it was to land at Patna airport, killing 55 persons onboard and five on the ground.

Initially, seven passengers were reported injured and alive. Four of them later died. Three had a miraculous escape. One of them received no injuries barring a few scratches in what remains one of the worst aviation disasters in India.

The flight, CD-7412, was on its way from Kolkata to Delhi, and Patna was its first stopover. There were 58 people onboard including six crew.

Unlike many other cities, and much like Karachi, Patna has an airport in the middle of the city. On one side of the airport is a botanical garden, which also functions as a zoo in Patna. On another side, there is a British period clock tower that stands tall at 333 feet.

The flight was hovering over the airport for landing. It suddenly lost height and grazed a neem tree before ploughing through a row of government residential houses and burst into flames.

The pilot of the plane was in communication with the ATC for landing and had sought permission to take another round before heading to the runway.

There were mutilated bodies, broken cabin baggage and pieces of the aircraft strewn all over the site of crash. Two government quarters, and several nearby huts had been razed to the ground. The army was called in for help.

News reports had quoted some eyewitnesses saying that the plane nose-dived after catching fire. The runway was just two km away. People saw smoke billowing out prior to the crash.

In final investigation, the plane crash was found to have happened due to human error committed by the pilot. Before the commission of enquiry submitted its report, many people blamed the crash on aging airbus, which was 20-year-old.

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