The final moments aboard the deadly Yeti Airlines plane heading for Nepal surfaced in a video mere moments before the aircraft came crashing to the ground following an explosion on Sunday, killing all 72 passengers on board.
In a Facebook live video posted in the minutes before the plane went down, Sonu Jaiswal recorded himself and his three friends who were headed to Pokhara. They can be heard laughing and joking as the plane began its final descent.
There were no emergency announcements or warnings heard from the cockpit or from plane staff in the video, seen by Gizmodo. The video shows the aircraft appearing to veer off course as the loud roar of the engine comes to life and the plane is seen crashing to the ground. Flames erupt and aircraft debris is seen before the screen goes black.
A close friend of the passengers, Vishal Koswal, identified the men as 29-year-old Jaiswal, a married father of three, Anil Rajbhar (28), Vishal Sharma (23), and Abhishek Singh Kushwaha (23), who departed from their homes in India on January 12.
Koswal told The Guardian that he was supposed to be on that flight, but had stayed behind in India because of a death in his family. He said his friends had been video-calling him throughout the flight, showing the scenery from the plane and sharing in their excitement.
He said his friends were like “brothers” to him, telling the outlet, “This all seems like a nightmare, I still cannot believe we have lost all of them.” He added. “I can’t watch that crash video again, it is very hard and painful. A big tragedy has fallen over us.”
The Nepal Police Department did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment on the investigation.
The tragedy was the deadliest plane crash in three decades since a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed approaching Kathmandu in 1992, killing all 167 people onboard.
Local rescue crews have been tirelessly working to recover the bodies of all men, women, and children aboard the Yeti Airlines flight since Sunday, and as of Tuesday, all but one person’s remains were found.
The treacherous terrain has reportedly made it difficult for rescue crews including police and army officers to reach the wreckage. They deployed ropes and stretchers into the 304.80 m-deep ravine to find as many passengers as possible. Within 24 hours 63 bodies were recovered, according to police officer AK Chhetri as reported by The Guardian.
Drones were deployed into the ravine on Tuesday but were forced to cease looking as night fell and authorities say they will resume their search on Wednesday. “There is thick fog here now. We are sending search and rescue personnel using ropes into the gorge where parts of the plane fell and was in flames,” Chhetri told Reuters.
The plane crash is currently under investigation, and the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder was recovered on Monday. Both were reported to be in good condition and are likely to help reveal what caused the plane to go down on its final descent.
Nepalese flights have been banned in the European Union since 2013 citing safety concerns including training and maintenance standards, following a series of deadly plane crashes in Nepal.
In May of last year, a flight operated by Nepal-based airline Tara Air crashed, killing all 22 people on board, and in March 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines plane crashed near Kathmandu, killing 51 people on board.
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