Warning: This article contains gruesome details that some readers may find distressing. Reader discretion is advised.
Last Sunday (15 January), a plane en route from Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu to the popular tourist spot of Pokhara tragically crashed, resulting in one of the country’s deadliest air disasters in 30 years.
According to a report by CNN, the crash took the lives of 72 people — 4 crew members and 68 passengers. Among the victims were 37 men, 25 women, 3 children and 3 infants.
Those on the plane consisted of 57 Nepali nationals, 5 Indians, 4 Russians, 2 Koreans, an Australian national, an Argentinian national, a French national and an Irish national.
The ATR 72 aircraft was operated by Nepalese airline company Yeti Air and was on approach to the newly opened Pokhara airport before it crashed in a gorge near the Seti River.
Witness shares the pilot tried his best to not hit any civilisation
Speaking to BBC, local resident Divya Dhakal said she rushed to the scene right after witnessing the aircraft taking a hard dive from the skies at 11.00 am local time.
“By the time I was there the crash site was already crowded. There was huge smoke coming from the flames of the plane. And then helicopters came over in no time.”
“The pilot tried his best to not hit civilisation or any home,” she said.
Facebook Livestream show flight’s final moments
Meanwhile, several videos of the crash have since gone viral online, including a Facebook Livestream video by one of the passengers showing the plane’s final moments before the fateful crash.
Another video that was taken from the rooftop of a house in Pokhara showed the plane flying low over a populated area and rolling on its side before the aircraft was no longer visible in the clip. A loud explosion can be heard at the end of the video.
⚠️ Facebook live-stream by one of the passengers on the Yeti Airlines Flight 691 documents the moment the plane crashed in Nepal, killing all 72 people on board. pic.twitter.com/G9mpJsuEnE— Upward News (@UpwardNewsHQ) January 15, 2023
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
At the time of writing, the cause behind the crash remains unclear. However, German news agency DW reported that the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders have been recovered. An audit of all ATR 72 and ATR 42 aircraft used in Nepal has also indicated that they do not suffer from any technical issues.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal also reported that 69 bodies had been retrieved from the crash site, with 41 victims identified.