NEW DELHI (AP) — Air passenger Sonu Jaiswal’s 90-second smartphone video begins as the plane approaches the runway and flies over buildings and green fields above the Nepalese city of Pokhara, at the foot of the Himalayas.
Everything seemed normal as Jaiswal’s livestream on Facebook shifted from the picturesque view from the plane’s window to the laughter of fellow passengers. Finally, Jaiswal, wearing a yellow sweater, turns the camera to himself and smiles.
Then it happened.
The plane appeared to turn abruptly to the left when Jaiswal’s smartphone briefly captured the cries of passengers. Within seconds, the footage becomes shaky and records the screeching sound of the engine. Towards the end of the video, huge flames and smoke dominate the frame.
Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu crashes into gorge All 72 people on board were killed on Sunday, and the co-pilot was Anju Khatiwada, who was in the United States for years after her husband died in a crash while flying for the same airline in 2006. Pilot training. Her colleagues describe her as a highly motivated and skilled pilot.
The deaths of Khatiwada, 44, and Jaiswal, 25, are part of a deadly pattern in Nepal, which has seen a string of air crashes over the years, in part due to difficult terrain, bad weather and an aging fleet.
Authorities on Tuesday began returning some of the identified bodies to families and said they were sending data recorders from the ATR 72-500 plane to France Used for analysis to determine what caused the crash.
In the Indian city of Ghazipur, nearly 430 kilometers (270 miles) south of the crash site in Nepal, Jaiswal’s distraught family is still waiting to claim his body. His father, Rajendra Prasad Jaiswal, boarded a car for Kathmandu on Monday night and was expected to arrive in the Nepalese capital later on Tuesday.
“It’s been a difficult wait,” said Jaiswal’s brother, Deepak Jaiswal.
Deepak said news of Jacewal’s plane crashing in Pokhara reached his home minutes after the accident, with news channels starting to broadcast images of the wreckage, still burning and billowing thick gray smoke.
Still, the family is reluctant to believe the news, holding out hope for his survival.
However, by Sunday night, the situation had become clear. Deepak confirmed the authenticity of Jaiswal’s live broadcast to The Associated Press, and he was one of the first people in his family to view the video, which has since gone viral on the Internet.
“We couldn’t believe the news until we saw the video,” he said. “It’s painful.”
Jaiswal, a father of three, works at a local liquor store in Alawalpur Afga village in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district. Deepak said his brother went to Kathmandu to visit the Pashupatinath temple – a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva – and pray for a son before setting off for Pokhara sightseeing with three other friends.
“He’s not just my brother,” Deepak said. “I lost a friend in him.”
The tragedy happened in Nepal, where all 53 passengers were locals.
Hundreds of relatives and friends of the victims comforted each other at a local hospital on Tuesday. Families of some of the victims whose bodies have been identified prepared funerals for their loved ones.
However, co-pilot Khatiwada’s colleagues were still in disbelief.
“She is a very good pilot and very experienced,” Yeti Airlines spokesman Pemba Sherpa said of Khatiwada.
Khatiwada started flying for Yeti Airlines in 2020 — four years after her husband Dipak Pokhrel died in a plane crash. He was flying a DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 of the same airline that crashed and caught fire in the Jumla region of Nepal, killing all nine people on board. Khatiwada later remarried.
Hathiwada is a “skilled pilot” with a “friendly nature” and has been promoted to captain after thousands of flying hours since joining the airline in 2010, the Sherpa said. .
“We lost the best,” Sherpa said.
Associated Press video reporter Piyush Nagpal contributed to this report.