Nepal Minute - out of the ordinary

Travel & Tourism

Sonu Jaiswal was one of the passengers aboard the Yeti Airlines ATR 72 plane that crashed in Pokhara on Sunday. A video believed to have been live streamed by him shows the final moments on board the ill-fated aircraft, just before and after it crashed into the Seti River gorge.

The Indian national, of Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, was one of the five Indians on the aircraft. The others were: Sanjay Jaiswal, Abhishek Kushwaha, Anil Rajbhar and Vishal Sharma. As of Monday evening, rescue workers have recovered the bodies of 70 of the 72 people on board.

Media reports from India suggest that the Sonu Jaiswal indeed livestreamed the final seconds from the aircraft, an official at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has questioned the video’s authenticity. And official has described it as "fake".

Jagannath Niraula, spokesperson of CAAN told reporters on Monday: “We’ve also seen a video of Facebook Live done from the aircraft. We understand it’s filmed on some other flight. It’s aimed at spreading false information. It's not authentic, it's fake.”

Hours after the crash - the biggest ever in Nepal’s history involving a domestic flight - the government formed a crash investigation commission with a 45-day mandate to probe into the crash and recommend measures to prevent air accidents in future.

Niraula added: “CAAN is working to investigate the crash and find out the truth. A commission has already been formed to ensure free and independent investigation. That’s why we’d like to request everyone to rely on information provided by CAAN – and not get carried away by misinformation circulating on social media.”

Sonu Jaiswal’s live video

Jaiswal’s live video shows the plane flying low over buildings and fields of Kathmandu or Pokhara. As it pans the camera, it shows him smiling and his friends chattering away. It also shows the Yeti Airlines logo on the seat behind his head. Moments later, a loud bang  is heard and fire starts engulfing the site.

Sonu Jaiswal’s live video ‘filmed on different aircraft’. Warning: Some viewers may find this video distressing

Despite CAAN’s denial, reports in the Indian media suggest that the video could well be true. Speaking to Indian journalists, Jaiswal’s friends and relatives have confirmed the video’s authenticity.

“Sonu did the [livestream] when the plane crashed in a gorge near the Seti River," Mukesh Kashyap, Jaiswal's friend, told reporters, according to BBC News. “Additionally, local journalist Shashikant Tiwari told the BBC that Kashyap showed him the video on Jaiswal's Facebook profile, which is set to private.”

A former Nepali lawmaker, Abhishek Pratap Shah, claimed in an interview with NDTV: "It [the video clip] was sent by one of my friends, who received it from a police officer. It is a real record."

CAAN has requested Nepali leaders and officials to refrain from making comments on possible causes of the crash, saying the matter is now being investigated by the commission.

Soon after the crash on Sunday, another video captured by a local of Pokhara, Diwas Bohora, showed moments before the aircraft went down and crashed into the Seti River gorge. But that  was followed by several other misleading videos showing moments of past air crashes elsewhere.

Diwas Bohora’s live video. Warning: Some viewers may find this video distressing

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