A light aircraft crashed yesterday killing its pilot in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka.

The single-engine training aircraft of Parabat Flying Academy crashed into a playground at Uttara Model Town in the city, killing the pilot on the spot, police and civil aviation officials said.

The Cessna-150 (S2-AAM) training aircraft crashed about one kilometre away from Zia International Airport when the lone trainee pilot, Moklesur Rahman Sakib, 32, a steward of Bangladesh Biman, lost control of the plane in gusty winds at about 11.30am.

It is the second such crash of the Parabat Flying Academy in four years. Earlier in September 27, 1998, a Cessna-150 crashed onto the rooftop of a warehouse in the capital.

The two pilots – Fareea Lara, 26, and Syed Rafiqul Islam, 24 – died in that crash after they lost control of the plane in gusty wind and heavy rain.

Officials said Sakib lost communication with the control tower three minutes after he took off from Tejgaon Old Airport at 11:20am. Before that, the control tower asked him to land. But he told them that he could not see the runway. Then the tower told him to land at the airport. After that, there was no radio communication between the pilot and the tower.

They said that earlier in the morning, Sakib, and another trainee pilot, Wahid, took off in two Cessna-150s.

However, immediately after the take-off, they were asked to land due to bad weather.

Eyewitnesses said the plane catapulted before nose-diving into the middle of the field just a few yards from a pond.

"But apparently the pilot of the two-seater lost control due to heavy winds and crashed," said one of the eye witnesses whose house is adjacent to the playground.

"I was sitting in the balcony of my house during the storm and suddenly saw a plane fall on the field," said Mahbub Salam.

"It seems the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing but failed due to the heavy winds," he added.

Soon after the crash, residents near the site came out of their houses and rushed to the badly damaged Cessna-150. They said the casualties could have been higher had the aircraft crashed into any of the houses surrounding the field.

A police team patrolling the area rushed to the spot and recovered the body of Sakib, whose body was badly fractured. He died on the spot. The body was taken to the police station.

Sakib joined Biman Bangladesh Airlines as a cabin crew on April 25, 1995. Earlier, he served as a security personnel of the national flag carrier.

He is survived by his wife, Selina Akhter Rina, and two daughters.

The victim received his solo licence on Thursday, only a day before the tragedy.

His colleagues at Biman alleged that Parabat Training Academy was fully responsible for allowing Sakib to fly in bad weather.

"The incident could have easily been avoided had he been barred from flying solo on the second day," opined a female colleague of Sakib at the Uttara Police Station.

She also alleged that the Parabat authorities tried to conceal the previous crash of a Cessna training flight in 1998.

State minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, Mir Nasiruddin, and high Civil Aviation officials visited the spot.

Fifty-seven people have so far died in seven plane accidents in Bangladesh since the country's independence in 1971.