The pilot tragically killed in the Yeti Airlines crash lost her husband 16 years earlier in a different plane crash with the same airline.
Vowing to continue her husband's dream, Anju Khatiwada decided to leave Nepal to put herself through years of flight training in the United States.
Her late husband was a pilot at Yeti Airlines and died in a plane crash in 2006, and his 44-year-old wife joined the same airline in 2010 where she rose to the rank of captain.
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In a devastating twist of fate, Anju met the same end as her husband when the plane she was co-piloting crashed a mile from the landing strip at a newly built airport in Pokhara yesterday (January 15).
No survivors have been found so far. Of the 72 people on board, 69 bodies have been recovered – making the crash the deadliest the country has seen in a decade.
The passengers on the plane included 53 Nepalis, five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans and one person each from Australia, Argentina, France and Ireland. There were also four Nepali crew members.
According to the New York Post, relative Gopal Regmi said: “Anju’s father had asked her not to choose the pilot profession after her husband’s tragic death.
“She was determined to become a pilot.”
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The cause of the tragic crash is unclear. However, the Nepali Government appointed a five-member committee to investigate the cause after the flight data recorded was recovered earlier today.
Experts speculate the possible causes of the crash could range from engine failure to a sudden loss of control by the pilot.
A video taken moments before the crash was captured by eyewitnesses in the residential area around the airport.
It showed one wing of the ATR-72 drop suddenly as the plane descended before it plunged into a gorge and erupted in flames.
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Another clip was live-streamed by passenger Sonu Jaiswal to Facebook from within the aircraft as it approached the runway.
The 90-second clip features cries before flames take over the images.
Jaiswal’s father Rajendra Prasad Jaiswal, who was on his way to Nepal to identify the body, said he learned of the crash from his son’s Facebook page. Jaiswal leaves behind his wife, a four-year-old daughter and an eight-month-old son.
Officials from Yeti Airlines rejected earlier reports that the aircraft had lost communication with the air traffic control towers. Sudarshan Bartaula, a spokesman for the airline, said the airport had been given clearance to land.
“The incident happened about two kilometers away from the airport, which takes 15 to 20 seconds to land there,” he said.
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