Nepal: Shocking video shows the last moments in the cockpit before the deadly plane crash

Nepal: Shocking video shows the last moments in the cockpit before the deadly plane crash

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A Facebook Live video purporting to show the final terrifying moments in the cabin of Yeti Airlines Flight 691 before it crashed in Nepal on Sunday went viral online as search and recovery efforts continue on the ground.

The plane crashed en route from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu to Pokhara, a tourist gateway to the Himalayas. There were 72 people on board, including four crew members, according to an airline spokesman.

With the bodies of all but one recovered, the crash marks the entire country the deadliest air disaster in more than 30 years.

The search for the last remaining victim is ongoing, Anil Shahi, a local official, said Tuesday.

The video is believed to have been streamed live from inside the plane by a passenger, Sonu Jaiswal, with the footage starting moments before the plane crashed. Shows a window of an airplane with a wing visible from the outside as the airplane bank sharply to the left.

At one point, seemingly oblivious to the looming danger, Jaiswal turns the video on himself, smiling slightly amid chatter and laughter in the background. Several passengers can be heard chatting excitedly in a mixture of Hindi and Punjabi; a man says, “Look at that body of water, it’s great,” as the plane passes by a lake.

The mood on the plane appears calm, with no urgent warnings from the pilot or airline crew. Seconds later, the video suddenly begins to shake with screams heard; the camera loses focus, showing only flashes of light and a loud noise before the scene erupts into fire.

CNN confirmed the video based on geolocation, the flight manifest and information on the Yeti Airlines website.

Jaiswal was listed as a passenger on the flight manifest and the seat number listed for him on the airline’s website matched the visuals taken from inside the plane.

A close friend of Jaiswal’s in India, Armaan Ansari, also confirmed that Jaiswal was seen in the video. He added that he watched a Facebook Live broadcast by Jaiswal during the flight.

“We watched it. We only watched for a few seconds and then it was cut off. We haven’t thought much about it,” he said.

Aryaka Ahuri, chief of Gazipur district in India, where Jaiswal lives, said she spoke to Jaiswal’s parents and confirmed that he was on the plane and the one who took 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 support that claim. Instead, he pointed to passengers laughing at the first sign of turbulence before panic set in seconds later as evidence that it couldn’t be the Yeti Airlines flight.

Aviation analyst Mary Schiavo told CNN the video could be helpful in the investigation, saying it may have captured details not recorded in the plane’s black box. For example, the plane’s flap, which provides extra lift during landing, “doesn’t look like it (is) fully extended,” she said.

She added that what appeared to be the sound of an engine suggested “they had power for at least one engine.”

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Tragic twist revealed involving co-pilot in Nepal plane crash

Search and search efforts continued on Tuesday for the two people who are still missing, according to Nepalese police. District police chief Ajaya KC said foggy weather made the search difficult and authorities planned to use drones to locate the missing when the weather improved.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the cause of the crash continues with the help of French investigators, who will be on the scene until Tuesday. The plane’s black box, which records flight data, was recovered on Monday and will be handed over to CAAN, officials said.

Aviation authorities said Tuesday that the plane’s pilot asked air traffic controllers to change the runway just minutes before the plane went down.

Pokhara airport has two runways that pilots can choose between when landing and the pilot’s request has been accepted, CAAN spokesperson Jagannath Nirula said.

“When the Yeti Airlines pilot asked the tower if he could take the second runway, the tower approved,” he said. “Tower controllers didn’t ask why the pilot wanted to use a runway other than the one originally planned because it wasn’t technically a problem for them which runway the pilot chose to land on,” Nirula told CNN.

No distress calls from the pilot were reported to tower controllers at the Pokhara airport, he added.

Bereaved family members mourn after Yeti Airlines Flight 691 crashed on January 15.

In Kathmandu and Pokhara, crowds held candlelight vigils for the victims on Monday.

At least 41 of the recovered bodies have been identified, Yeti Airlines said in a statement on Monday. Some bodies will be handed over to their families in Pokhara, while others – including those of foreign nationals – will be airlifted to Kathmandu on Tuesday, police said.

On board were 15 foreign nationals from India, Russia, South Korea, Australia, Ireland, Argentina and France, according to CAAN.

Videos on Monday showed grieving families in Pokhara waiting outside the hospital where autopsies are being carried out. The autopsy was delayed because a forensics team had not arrived in Pokhara by Monday afternoon, according to police and airline officials.

Some families began to talk about the loss of their loved ones. In a statement on Tuesday, the family of Australian victim Myron Love said the 29-year-old teacher was a keen cyclist who “lived life to the fullest”.

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