Final moments of plane crash that killed 68 people captured by passenger on Facebook Live

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 16 Jan, 2023 09:07 | 4 mins read
Final moments of plane crash that killed 68 people captured by passenger on Facebook Live
The wreckage of the ill-fated plane. PHOTO/Courtesy

The final moments of a plane in Nepal which plunged to the ground, killing at least 68 people on board, appear to have been broadcast on Facebook Live by one of its passengers.

Video appearing to show the inside of the aircraft moments before the disaster, which happened as the plane descended into the newly opened airport in the city of Pokhara.

The footage, which was purportedly taken by an Indian man called Sonu Jaiswal, shows passengers smiling as the plane flies over houses. The Yeti Airlines logo is visible over Mr Jaiswal's shoulder and a Nepalese insurance advert can be seen on the airline's tray.

The clip continues, before the camera suddenly starts to shake and passengers are heard shouting. It then goes black with a loud bang, before flames light up the frame.

The veracity of the footage has not been confirmed independently by MailOnline, although the Times of India says it has spoken to Mr Jaiswal's cousin, who confirmed the 29-year-old was onboard the plane.

It reports one of Mr Jaiswal's companions, the three of which were also Indian, shouted 'It's real fun' moments before the crash.

The publication quoted Mr Jaiswal's cousin, Rajat Jaiswal, as saying: 'Sonu was on Facebook live after boarding the flight for Pokhara. The live-streaming showed that Sonu and his companions were in a happy mood but all of a sudden flames appeared before the streaming stopped.'

The crash involved a twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft run by Yeti Airlines, which had been undertaking a half-an-hour flight from the Nepali capital Kathmandu to Pokhara.

There were 72 people on board the aircraft, which included 15 foreigners, and at least 68 are known to have died after it crashed into a gorge near the city's new airport.

Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority said it is not known what caused the disaster as of yet.

The aviation authority said the aircraft last made contact with the airport from near Seti Gorge at 10.50am local time (5.05am GMT) before crashing.

Footage appearing to show the aircraft suddenly tilting and diving towards the ground as it made its landing approach to the airport.

A witness said he saw the aircraft spinning violently in the air after it began descending to land, watching from the terrace of his house.

Local resident Bishnu Tiwari, who rushed to the crash site near the Seti River to help search for bodies, said the rescue efforts were hampered by thick smoke and a raging fire.

'The flames were so hot that we couldn't go near the wreckage. I heard a man crying for help, but because of the flames and smoke we couldn't help him,' Tiwari said.

'Half of the plane is on the hillside,' said Arun Tamu, a local resident, who told Reuters he reached the site minutes after the plane went down. 'The other half has fallen into the gorge of the Seti river.'

Khum Bahadur Chhetri said he watched from the roof of his house as the flight approached.

'I saw the plane trembling, moving left and right, and then suddenly its nose dived and it went into the gorge,' Chhetri told Reuters, adding that local residents took two passengers to a hospital.

Images and videos shared on Twitter showed plumes of smoke billowing from the crash site, about 1.6 kilometers (nearly a mile) away from Pokhara International Airport. The aircraft's fuselage was split into multiple parts that were scattered down the gorge.

Firefighters carried bodies, some burned beyond recognition, to hospitals where grief-stricken relatives had assembled. At Kathmandu airport, family members appeared distraught as they were escorted in and at times exchanged heated words with officials as they waited for information.

It was carrying 68 passengers including 15 foreign nationals, as well as four crew members, Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. The foreigners included five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France.

Among those killed was Russian travel blogger Elena Banduro, who had posted the message 'Go to Nepal' excitedly before the flight.

Her social media was today full of messages of condolences, and she was described as 'the brightest, kindest soul we knew'.

Three other Russians died on the flight, named as Viktoria Altunina, Yuri Lugin and Viktor Lagin.

Earlier the Russian ambassador to Nepal, Alexei Novikov, confirmed the death of four compatriots aboard the crashed plane.

'Unfortunately, four citizens of the Russian Federation died,' he said.

'We are in constant contact with the Nepalese authorities and will provide all necessary assistance to the relatives of the dead Russians.'

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who rushed to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu after the crash, set up a panel to investigate the accident.

'The incident was tragic. The full force of the Nepali army, police has been deployed for rescue,' he said.

'We expect to recover more bodies,' said army spokesman Krishna Bhandari. 'The plane has broken into pieces.'

The crash is Nepal's deadliest since March 2018, when a US-Bangla Dash 8 turboprop flight from Dhaka crashed on landing in Kathmandu, killing 51 of the 71 people on board, according to Aviation Safety Network.

In May 2022, all 22 people died on board a plane operated by Nepali carrier Tara Air - including 16 Nepalis, four Indians and two Germans - when it crashed o a slope.

There were 72 people on the twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft operated by Yeti in today's disaster, including two infants and four crew members, said airline spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula.

The plane had five Indians, four Russians, one Irish, two South Korean, one Australian, one French and one Argentinian national onboard, a Nepal airport official said.

The plane was 15 years old, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

Related Topics