68 killed in Nepal’s worst domestic air disaster, the crash on Sunday is the second in less than a year, and a viral video captures the last moments.
A cellphone recovered from the wreckage of the Yeti Airlines flight that crashed in Nepal today has apparently captured the final, very disturbing moments of the flight. The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft from Kathmandu — which carried 72 people — crashed shortly before landing in Pokhara, a major tourist destination in the Himalayan nation. At least 68 of the passengers are dead.
The video, which is making the rounds of social media, opens with shots of passengers sitting inside the plane and the city below seen from the window as the plane circles before landing. Suddenly there is an explosion and the screen goes topsy-turvy. The final few seconds show a horrifying fire outside the window and cries of distraught passengers can be heard.
The civil aviation authority of Nepal said that flames were seen in the plane just before landing, hence ruling out adverse weather conditions for the mishap. The aircraft crashed due to a technical glitch. It was a clear day in the Pokhara valley and weather conditions were not all adverse.
Very Tragic Nepal Plane Crash 😰 pic.twitter.com/0oMiVtG5Yp
— Swati Dixit (@vibewidyou) January 15, 2023
Another video from the ground captured the flight’s progress as it started landing. The plane suddenly tilted to the left and turned upside down and reports say it then burst into a ball of fire.
There were five Indian passengers on board, all of whom were from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. One of them, Sonu Jaiswal, was apparently doing a Facebook Live shortly before the flight crashed. He is among the dead. The same video is found on his Facebook account, which is unverified.
Abhishek Pratap Shah, a former MP of Nepal and Central committee member of the Nepali Congress, who sent the video footage, told NDTV that he received the footage from a friend and it was recovered today from the wreckage.
“It was sent by one of my friends who received it from police personnel. It is a real record. It is today’s video as the flight was about to land,” Mr. Shah told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
Rescue work is expected to continue tomorrow and a search is on for the plane’s black box, which is expected to shed light on the reasons for the crash. Pokhara is only a 25-minute flight from Kathmandu, the capital of the Himalayan nation.
The aviation sector in Nepal has detected several plane crashes lately and there have been concerns about the safety and training of flight staff.
“This aircraft is the best of what we have in Nepal and all the leading airlines have been operating the same aircraft,” Mr Shah said.
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Pointing out that Pokhara is a tourist hub, he said the country needs to “upgrade our aviation system, our aircraft, information system, pilots also”.
Malfunctioning of system, human error could have caused Nepal plane crash: Experts While the exact factors for the crash, that killed at least 68 people on Sunday, will be known only after completion of the detailed probe, initially, it looks like the possibility of mishandling by the pilot or malfunctioning of the plane’s angle of attack system, an official said on the condition of anonymity.
Since 2013, the European Union has put Nepal on the flight safety blacklist. All flights from Nepal have been banned in EU airspace after the International Civil Aviation Organization flagged safety concerns.