A day after the fateful plane crash in Nepal, the country's Army, which monitored the rescue operations, has ruled out any survivors, stating nobody was rescued alive from the accident site in Pokara.
"We haven't rescued anyone alive from the crash site," Nepal Army Spokesperson Krishna Prasad Bhandari told reporters on Monday.
The Army's statements come amid reports that 68 people died and four were missing. The search and rescue operation is due to continue on Monday too.
The Yeti Airlines passenger plane from Kathmandu to the hill station of Pokhara had crashed just before landing into a gorge near the runway, presumably killing all 72 people, including five Indians.
Earlier, local residents had reported cries from the crash site. Bishnu Tiwari, one of the few people to rush to the spot near the Seti River, told Associated Press that the rescue efforts were hampered by thick smoke and a raging fire. "The flames were so hot that we couldn’t go near the wreckage. I heard a man crying for help, but because of the flames and smoke we couldn’t help him," Tiwari told the news outlet.
The Nepalese authorities have tasked a special commission with investigating the causes of the crash. A report is expected in 45 days, reported ANI.
Though it is unclear as to what caused the accidents, a video, purportedly recorded by a resident from the terrace of a building, showed the aircraft spinning violently in the air as it began to descend.
Another video, believed to be from a mobile phone recovered from the wreckage of the crashed plane, shows the final moments of the flight. The footage, though its authenticity couldn't be verified, shows a view from the window of the plane. A loud noise is heard as the camera goes blank before it captured a blaze outside the windows. The cries of passengers could also be heard.
During the Nepal plane accident,a passenger who was the victim of the accident was doing Facebook Live, the video went viral on social media. At least 68 people have died after a 72-seater plane crashed. #planecrash #NepalPlaneCrash #Nepal #pokhra #NepalPlaneCrashVideo pic.twitter.com/KSLpWhBIRp— Gajraj Singh Parihar (@GAJRAJPARIHAR) January 15, 2023
Five Indians dead
All five Indians who were on the plane are presumed to be dead. Early reports had mentioned how four of the five Indians killed in a plane crash in Nepal hailed from Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh.
The four victims from the Ghazipur district have been identified as Sonu Jaiswal, Anil Rajbhar, Abhishek Kushwaha and Vishal Sharma. Though the fifth Indian killed in the plane crash was identified as Sanjaya Jaiswal, the police spokesperson said he might have his roots in Ghazipur but it could not be confirmed yet.
Ghazipur District Magistrate Aryaka Akhauri said the administration has reached out to the affected families. "Our sub-divisional magistrate and other officials are meeting them. We are also in touch with the embassy.... We will do the needful after the recovery of bodies," Akhauri added.
The four men from Ghazipur were travelling to Pokhara to enjoy paragliding in the lake city and tourist hub Pokhara.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, while condoling the incident, said he has given instructions to officials to coordinate with the Ministry of External Affairs to make arrangements to bring the mortal remains of the deceased people of Uttar Pradesh to the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief and prayed for the bereaved families of the Nepal plane crash. "Pained by the tragic air crash in Nepal in which precious lives have been lost, including Indian nationals. In this hour of grief, my thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families," PM Modi tweeted.