Seventy-two people were on their way to Pokhara, a tourist town in Nepal. Some were on a holiday, some were infants, and some were locals. A co-pilot was seconds away from achieving her goal of becoming a Captain. But it took less than a minute for all that to turn into flames and smoke as the plane carrying them crashed just seconds before landing.
On Sunday, January 15, a 72-seater Yeti Airlines plane that took off from Kathmandu crashed into a gorge 10 seconds before landing in Pokhara.
A purported video seconds before the crash is going viral on Facebook. Reportedly, one of the Indian victims, Sonu Jaiswal, took a Facebook LIVE video of the landing which shows the crash taking place unexpectedly.
WARNING: DISTURBING VISUALS
🚨Trigger Warning.— Gabbar (@GabbbarSingh) January 15, 2023
The guy who’s shooting this is from Ghazipur India. Moments before the crash. pic.twitter.com/hgMJ187ele
DailyO couldn't immediately verify the authenticity of the video.
Local residents and witnesses rushed to the crash site to help, but the place was engulfed in flames. Some said they heard cries of help but the smoke was so thick and the flames so hot, they weren't able to get close to rescue whoever was alive from the pile of crash.
So far, at least 68 of those on board have been confirmed dead including five Indians. Rescue operations resumed on Monday.
Another video taken from the terrace of a nearby house, shows the plane tilting dangerously before the crash. DailyO cannot immediately verify the authenticity of the video.
#YT691 (#9NANC) moments crashed before landing at Pokhara airport. Low speed steep descent path then 1 wing drop (stall). ADSB data for aircraft has history of strange data altitude data. Other aircraft at #YetiAirlines now showing same trend.— Gerry Soejatman (@GerryS) January 15, 2023
Viewer Discretion Advised! pic.twitter.com/13vuB59umG
The Yeti Airlines flight YT691 crash is the worst plane crash in Nepal in 30 years. The last plane crash with more casualties than the current one was in 1992. It is also the third worst plane crash in Nepal ever reported.
Here's what is known about the ill-fated aircraft:
More videos emerging from the crash site show the extent of losses. Up until now , 67 bodies have been retrieved #YetiAirlines #Nepal #NepalPlaneCrash https://t.co/b7XbWHS3R9 pic.twitter.com/bTioa2OAbW— Sneha Mordani (@snehamordani) January 15, 2023
A list of other worse plane crashes in Nepal:
Why did the plane crash? Nepal is infamous for a long list of aviation accidents. The mountainous terrain, unpredictable weather and poor regulations are all some of the reasons for the Himalayan country's list of plane crashes.
There are several questions that crop up in the recent plane crash. We try to answer some of these:
Did the make and age of the aircraft have anything to do with the crash?
The aircraft involved is a 15 year old ATR 72-500 with registration number 9N-ANC and serial number 754.— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 15, 2023
This aircraft was equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data. We are downloading high resolution data and verifying the data quality. pic.twitter.com/nnrpnnNnqj
Was the crash due to Nepal's lack of regulations? The EU has banned Nepal airlines from its airspace for not meeting training and maintenance standards.
"Shady operators have thrived with political protection, providing the public with unsafe and overpriced services, while ruining Nepal’s reputation abroad and, with it, Nepal’s aviation and tourism industry. [RSP] has promised Nepal’s voters an end to corruption in Nepal" https://t.co/VOv0kujCq2— Arnico Panday अरनिको पाँडे (@arnicopanday) January 15, 2023
What does Nepal's terrain have to do? Nepal's remote runways and difficult terrain make flying difficult even for experienced pilots.