A Facebook Live video recorded by a passenger captured the final moments inside the Yeti Airlines flight before it crashed in Nepal.
On Sunday, Yeti Airlines flight 691 was making a 27-minute trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara with 72 people on board, including four crew members, when it crashed into a gorge before it was able to land at a newly opened airport.
At least 71 people, including children, have been confirmed to have died in the crash, making it the country’s deadliest air disaster in more than 30 years.
Search teams recovered 68 bodies on Sunday and two bodies on Monday. As of Tuesday afternoon, one more body was found, according to Prakash Pokhrel, an official coordinating the rescue operation at Kathmandu airport.
Nepali authorities said there were 53 Nepali citizens on board and 15 foreign nationals hailing from India, Russia, South Korea, Australia, Argentina, Ireland and France.
A livestreamed video from inside the plane was taken by passenger Sonu Jaiswal, CNN confirmed.
In the footage, Jaiswal can be seen smiling amid chatter in the background. He points the camera toward the window, where the wing of the aircraft is seen flying over terrain as the craft starts making its descent.
With no emergency warnings from the pilot nor the cabin crew, the plane abruptly shakes and the camera loses focus. Screams are heard in the background as the scene erupts in fire.
Warning: The following video contains content some may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised
🚨GRAPHIC VIDEO: Nepal plane crash pic.twitter.com/KpMW7Kj3z8
— Breaking News (@NewsJunkieBreak) January 15, 2023
“We were watching it. We had watched for just a few seconds and then it got cut. We did not think much about it,” Arman Ansari, Jaiswal’s friend in India, told CNN.
“I saw the plane trembling, moving left and right, and then suddenly it nosedived, and it went into the gorge,” local resident Khum Bahadur Chhetri told Reuters.
Horrifying last moments of an ATR plane crash from Nepal in Pokhara that was bound for Kathmandu. All 72 people on board are dead. pic.twitter.com/4JZIvnThPQ
— Wajahat Kazmi (@KazmiWajahat) January 15, 2023
An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, and authorities are still searching for the last remaining victim.
According to reports, police have recovered the black box flight recorder from the wreckage, which will soon be delivered to France for inspection.
The Yeti Airlines ATR 72 turboprop’s engines were manufactured in Canada by Pratt & Whitney Canada, while ATR is based in France. Air accident investigators from Canada and France plan to participate in the probe.
On Tuesday, aviation authorities said that the pilot of the plane asked air traffic controllers for a change of runway. The aircraft went down just minutes after the pilot’s request was accepted.
“When the Yeti Airlines pilot asked the tower if he can take the second runway to land, the tower approved it,” Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal spokesperson Jagannath Niroula told CNN. “The tower controllers didn’t ask why the pilot wanted to use a different runway than originally planned since it wasn’t an issue technically from their end which runway the pilot chooses to land.”
There were also reportedly no distress calls communicated to the Pokhara airport tower controllers from the pilot.
On Monday, candlelight vigils were held for the victims in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Hundreds of relatives and friends also gathered outside a local hospital to grieve and wait for the postmortems.
On Tuesday afternoon, people also gathered at Tulsi Ghat, a cremation ground in Pokhara, to mourn Tribhuwan Paudel, a 37-year-old journalist and editor at a local newspaper who died in the crash.
He was described as driven and passionate by Bimala Bhandari, the chairperson for the Federation of Nepali Journalists in Kaski district.
“He was dearest to all journalists here because of his nature,” Bhandari said. “The accident has taken him away from us … I am crumbling since the day of the crash.”