On Sunday Morning, a Yeti Airline plane headed to Pokhara Airport from Kathmandu plunged in what is believed to be Nepal’s worst air crash in 30 years.
At this moment, at least 68 of the 72 passengers are confirmed dead, but none are believed to have been able to survive, making this Nepal’s deadliest plane crash since 1992, when 167 people died aboard a Pakistan International Airlines flight that crashed on approach to Kathmandu.
Almost 350 people have died in air crashes in Nepal since 2000. The country’s mountainous scenery boasts Everest, alongside half of the world’s 14 highest peaks, but this can cause abrupt and dangerous changes in flying conditions. In addition, Nepali airlines have a questionable safety record and have been banned for the last decade from EU airspace. According to Flightradar, the 15-year-old ATR 72-500 aircraft that crashed on Sunday was equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data.
A passenger aboard the plane caught the last moments before the crash on a Facebook live video. Sonu Jaiswal and his three friends were excited to get to their destination and decided to immortalise the landing on video.
Please note the following description and video might be distressing.
The clip starts showing the view from the airplane window then turns around to show Sonu Jaiswal, a 29-year-old Indian, smiling, clearly thrilled for almost landing. He then turns the camera around again to show the other passengers. Everything seems calm and ordinary, but as the plane takes a sharp turn, Jaiswal probably drops his phone as the image turns dark. People are heard screaming in the background, followed by a loud noise, the moment of impact, as flames appear on the film before everything turns black.
Jaiswal had three children and ran a small business in India. He was accompanied by his friends 28-year-old Anil Rajbhar, 23-year-old Vishal Sharma and 23-year-old Abhishek Singh Kushwaha. “This all seems like a nightmare, I still cannot believe we have lost all of them. I can’t watch that crash video again, it is very hard and painful. A big tragedy has fallen over us”, said their close friend Vishal Koswal who was supposed to join them on their trip but had to cancel last minute due to a death in the family.
Authorities in Ghazipur have informed they are in contact with the families of the four men and with the Indian embassy in Kathmandu to offer any possible help, including making arrangements for them to travel to Kathmandu should they wish to do so.