A video that has gone viral on social media allegedly shows Nepal’s ATR-72 passenger plane moments before it crashed in the city called Pokhara on Sunday, 20 minutes after taking off from Kathmandu.
The twin-engine aircraft operated by Yeti Airlines is seen in the video flying dangerously low, tilting mid-air, moments before a loud bang is heard in the background. Opoyi cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Watch the video here:
All the 72 people onboard the aircraft at the time of the crash are presumed dead. Although international media put the number of bodies retrieved from the crash site at 36 Nepali media suggest that 53 bodies have been recovered so far.
The aircraft crashed near the banks of the Seti Gandaki river in a forested area.
Other videos shared on social media appear to show the aftermath of the crash, just after the aircraft went down. Thick dark smoke is seen emitting from the flames on the ground into the sky from debris scattered across the crash site.
The airlines said in a statement that 15 foreign nationals, including six children, were on board. 53 Nepali, 5 Indian, 4 Russian, 2 Koreans, 1 Argentinian, and one each from Ireland, Australia, and France were on the plane at the time of the crash.
According to sources at the Pokhara Airport, the pilot of the aircraft had earlier asked for permission to land from the east, and permission was granted.
However, a short while later the pilot asked for permission to land from the west. That time too, permission was given. When the plane crashed, it was just 10 seconds away from the runway.