A Facebook Live video shows the last terrifying moments inside the cabin of Eti Airways Flight 691. Crashed in Nepal It was widely circulated online Sunday as search and rescue efforts continued on the ground.
The plane was en route from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu to Pokhara, a tourist gateway to the Himalayas, when it crashed. An airline spokesperson said there were 72 people on board, including four crew members.
With all but two bodies recovered, the crash marks the country Deadly plane crash For more than 30 years.
A passenger named Sonu Jaiswal reportedly live-streamed the video from inside the plane, with footage starting moments before the plane crashed. It shows the window of the plane, the plane with the wing fading sharply to the left.
At one point, as if unaware of the impending danger, Jaiswal turns the video back on himself, smiling lightly amid background chatter and laughter. Many passengers can be heard conversing excitedly in a mixture of Hindi and Punjabi; As the plane passes a lake, someone says, “Look at that body of water, it’s beautiful.”
The mood inside the plane seems calm, with no emergency warnings from the pilot or flight crew. After a few seconds, the video suddenly begins to shake with audible screams; Before the scene explodes in flames, the camera loses focus, showing only flashes of light and loud noises.
CNN confirmed the video based on geolocation, the flight manifest and information on the Eti Airlines website.
Jaiswal is listed as a passenger on the flight manifest, and the seat number listed for him on the airline’s website matches footage taken from inside the plane.
Armaan Ansari, Jaiswal’s close friend in India, also confirmed that it was Jaiswal who was seen in the video. He also said that he was watching a Facebook live stream from Jaiswal during the flight.
“We were watching it. We watched it for a few seconds and then it was cut. We didn’t think much of it,” he said.
Aryaka Akori, head of India’s Ghazipur district, where Jaiswal lived, confirmed that he spoke to Jaiswal’s parents and that he was on the plane and filmed the video.
A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said the video was not of Sunday’s crash. When pressed, he said he and his team had no technical evidence to back up that claim. Instead, he pointed to passengers who laughed at the first sign of turbulence, before panicking seconds later, as evidence that it couldn’t be an Yeti Airlines flight.
Aviation investigator Mary Schiavo told CNN the video could help the investigation, possibly capturing information not recorded in the plane’s black box. For example, an airplane flap that gives extra lift during landing, “(it) doesn’t seem to be fully extended,” he said.
He added that what sounded like the sound of an engine “at least they had power for an engine.”
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According to Nepal Police, search and rescue efforts continued on Tuesday for the two still missing. District police chief Ajaya K.C. said the foggy weather would make the search difficult and authorities plan to use drones to locate missing people when the weather improves.
Meanwhile, an investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, with the help of French investigators who will be on site by Tuesday. The plane’s black box, which records flight data, will be recovered on Monday and handed over to CAAN, officials said.
The plane’s pilot asked air traffic controllers to divert the runway minutes before the plane went down, aviation officials said on Tuesday.
CAAN spokesperson Jagannath Nirola said the Pokhra airport has two runways that pilots can choose from while landing and the pilot’s request has been accepted.
“When the Eti Airlines pilot asked if the tower could take a second runway to land on, the tower approved it,” he said. “The tower controllers didn’t ask why the pilot chose to use a different runway than originally planned because it wasn’t technically an issue of which runway the pilot chose to land on,” Nirola told CNN.
He also said that no distress call was reported from the pilot to the tower controllers of Pogra airport.
In Kathmandu and Pokhara, people held candlelight vigils on Monday to pay their respects to the victims.
At least 41 of the recovered bodies have been identified, Eti Airlines said in a statement on Monday. Some of the bodies will be handed over to their families in Pokhara, while others – including foreigners – will be flown to Kathmandu on Tuesday, police said.
According to CAAN, 15 foreigners from India, Russia, South Korea, Australia, Ireland, Argentina and France were on board.
Videos on Monday showed grieving families in Pokhara waiting outside a hospital where autopsies were being conducted. The post-mortem was delayed as a forensic team did not reach Pokhara till Monday afternoon, police and airline officials said.
Some families have begun to talk about the loss of their loved ones. In a statement on Tuesday, the family of Australian victim Myron Love, a 29-year-old teacher and keen cyclist, said he “lived life to the fullest”.