Dhaka, Tuesday, March 20, 2018


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Bangladesh announces State Mourning for aviation tragedy in Kathmandu

DHAKA, March 14, 2018 (BSS) - Bangladesh is to observe "State Mourning Day" tomorrow in view of the Monday's aviation tragedy when the private US- Bangla craft crashed in Nepal claiming over 50 lives.

"A high-level emergency meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair took the decision to observe the State Mourning," PM's Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman told a press briefing emerging from the meeting at the PMO.

He said according to the decision national flag would be kept half mast throughout the day while mosques and places of worships like temples, churches and pagodas across the country were asked to stage prayers on Friday to seek eternal peace of the of those who died in the crash and for early recovery of the injured.

The principal secretary said the premier asked authorities concerned at the meeting to take preventive measures to avoid such air crashes in future and particularly asked the ministries and divisions concerned and the airlines operators to follow properly the international aviation safety regulations.

"She also put emphasis on further strengthening the capabilities of all to tackle such situations," Rahman said.

The principal secretary said the prime minister requested the countrymen to have patience at this time, describing the crash as a big "accident for us".

She mourned for the passengers, the pilots and crew of the craft and two Planning Commission officials saying they were part of "our meritorious community" and directed the authorities concerned to ensure proper treatment of those who were admitted to different hospitals in Nepal.

The premier, he said, also directed authorities to extend assistance for the burn wounded Nepalese nationals of the craft as Bangladesh has better facilities for burn injury patients.

Rahman said the prime minister was deeply shocked at the loss of life and property and it was reflected in her video message that she sent from Singapore ahead of returning home cutting short her overseas tour.

The principal secretary said arrangements were underway to bring back the bodies of the dead from Nepal.

The US-Bangla Airlines aircraft crashed and burst into flames while landing at Trivubhan International Airport in Kathmandu on Monday afternoon killing at least 50 passengers.

"A complete presentation over the situation after the crash was made before the premier at the meeting," Rahman said.

The principal secretary said the premier's talks earlier with her Nepalese counterpart created a field for authorities of the two countries to jointly carryout the required post-crash tasks enabling Bangladesh's foreign ministry and civil aviation ministries active involvement.

Besides, he said, a police expert team would go to Kathmandu to identify the victims' charred bodies of the victims through DNA tests.

He said the meeting also decided to send a medical team from Bangladesh for better treatment of the injured while the US-Bangla authorities pledged to send two critically wounded passengers to a third country for their better treatment.

The airlines, he said, by now sent an aircraft carrying relatives of the dead and injured passengers to Nepal. The principal secretary said civil aviation minister Shahjahan Kamal was now in Kathmandu to coordinate different matters keeping and "providing us information on various matters and we will be able to know details after his return".

Rahman said the prime minister asked her ruling Awami League leaders to stand beside the families who lost their near and dear ones in the crash and accordingly, he said, the Awami League general secretary was taking various measures.

Health Minister Mohammad Nasim, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, PM's Adviser HT Imam, chiefs of army, navy and air force, secretaries of the ministries concerned, the civil aviation authority chairman and senior PMO officials were present at the meeting.

At the meeting, the prime minister was apprised of various initiatives of the foreign ministry, the civil aviation ministry, the health ministry, the PMO and others concerned.