Nepal probes airport fire that halted flights

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 16:13

Kathmandu: Nepal on Wednesday instituted a high-level
committee to probe a fire breakout that brought the country`s
only international airport to a halt for hours.

The incident occurred yesterday evening in the eastern
part of the Tribhuvan International Airport here when the
grassland fire that started in the nearby bushes threatened a
runway.

All the fire brigades of Kathmandu along with hundreds of
security personnel had to be mobilised to contain the fire,
which the airport`s terminal buildings narrowly escaped.
It took two and a half hours for half a dozen fire
brigades of Kathmandu to put off the blaze.

The Tourism and Civil Aviation Ministry of Nepal today
formed a three-member probe committee to investigate the
incident.

The committee is headed by Joint Secretary in the Ministry
of Civil Aviation, Lokendra Bahadur Chhetri.

The committee has on it Home Ministry Undersecretary Bal
Krishna Panthi and Deputy Director General of the Civil
Aviation Authority of Nepal Krishna Bahadur Thapa, according
to officials.

The committee has been asked to submit its report within
three days.

The fire started from the bushes near the Pepsicola Town
Planning, adjoining the eastern side of the airport, and
disrupted about half a dozen national and international
flights for three hours.

Some of the flights were diverted to Delhi, as the fire
brought the airport to a halt for hours.

The cause of the fire is not known yet.
It took more than two hours for six fire brigade vehicles
and hundreds of security officials to extinguish the fire on
the grassy field on the eastern side of the runway.

There was no human casualty or damage of property but the
incident raised serious security concerns at the country`s
only international airport.

In in June 2011, regular flights had to be delayed and
diverted for hours when several cracks appeared in the 3,050
metre runway.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 16:13

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