Passenger’s Horror Video Shows Fiery Yeti Jet Crash in Nepal That Killed 68

Content warning: This story contains graphic descriptions and footage of a plane crash.

In the minutes before a commercial jet plunged into a gorge in central Nepal on Sunday morning, killing at least 68 of the 72 people on board, one passenger was reportedly streaming on Facebook Live—and captured the fiery crash from within the aircraft.

The 100-second clip, shot by an unidentified male passenger, was shared widely across social media in the hours after the Yeti Airlines jet’s crash. Sitting in a window seat, the man films a view of the city below; then, as the plane loses control and the camera slips out of his grasp, other passengers can be heard screaming in the background.

Flames then engulf the screen.

It was not immediately clear whether the man who took the footage survived the impact.

The twin-engine propeller plane, on a 24-minute journey from Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu to the tourist haven of Pokhara, tilted violently as it approached to land, as could be seen in video captured by a witness on the ground. It slammed into the gorge seconds later, with photographs taken at the scene appearing to show the smoky remains of the plane’s splintered fuselage littered around the site.

“The flames were so hot that we couldn’t go near the wreckage,” a local resident, Bishnu Tiwari, told the Associated Press. “I heard a man crying for help, but because of the flames and smoke we couldn’t help him.”

Hundreds of firefighters, police officers, army soldiers, and airport rescue service workers all converged on the gorge, launching a search-and-rescue operation that continued until the early hours of the evening. The search is set to continue on Monday, Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority said.

A senior administrative officer in the Kaski district told the AP he expected rescuers to discover more bodies further down the gorge.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Among those aboard were 53 Nepali nationals and 15 foreign nationals, including five Indians; four Russians; two South Koreans; and one passenger each from Argentina, Australia, France and Ireland, according to an airline statement.

At least six children were on the flight.

As of Sunday evening, rescuers had transported 29 bodies to a hospital for identification, while at least 33 more remained at the crash site, a Nepal Army spokesperson told The New York Times.

“I am speechless about the crash,” Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari tweeted. “I convey my heartfelt condolences to the passengers and the crew members who lost their lives and express my deep sympathy for the family members for their losses.”

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic accident of Yeti Airlines ANC ATR 72, which was flying from Kathmandu to Pokhara with passengers,” Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the prime minister of Nepal, wrote on Twitter. “I sincerely appeal to the security personnel, all agencies of the Nepal government and the general public to start an effective rescue.”

Sunday’s incident marked Pokhara Airport’s first crash since it opened and began operations just two weeks ago. It was Nepal’s second plane crash in the last 12 months, and its deadliest since 1992, when 167 people were killed after a Pakistan International Airlines flight hit a hill in Kathmandu.

There have been 42 fatal plane crashes in Nepal in the last eight decades. In 2013, the European Commission’s Air Safety List banned all Nepali airlines from operating in European Union nations, citing lax safety standards—which, along with a dearth of infrastructure, outdated technology, and unpredictable weather conditions have all variously been cited as the cause of crashes in Nepal.

Yeti Airlines said it would cancel all flights on Monday in observance of the crash. Prime Minister Dahal also announced that Monday would be marked a national holiday to mourn the victims.

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