An Australian surfer was on board a plane that crashed in Nepal, killing at least 68 of its 72 passengers.
Myron William Love, a keen traveller with an interest in surfing, cycling and photography, was among 15 foreign nationals aboard the ATR-72 turboprop which crashed in the city of Pokhara, about 200km west of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
At least 68 of the plane’s 72 passengers have been confirmed dead, but Mr Love’s fate remains unknown.
“Incredibly sad news out of Nepal of a plane crashing with many passengers on board,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Monday afternoon.
“The government is aware an Australian was on board and is urgently seeking information from Nepalese officials on the welfare of that passenger.”
Mr Love’s family is still awaiting news and, as such, is not yet commenting.
“We’re not saying anything until the consulate has confirmed the body,” a relative told Daily Mail Australia.
Mr Love’s social media posts showcase his passion for travel and sports. He recently spent time with friends in Thailand.
Cruel reason man caught doomed flight
The flight crashed into the gorge between Pokhara’s domestic and brand new international airport, which had only just opened on New Year’s Day.
The official cause of the crash has not been determined, though one leading aviation expert has suggested an aerodynamic stall could be behind the tragedy.
The plane’s blackbox and voice recorder were found on Monday evening, with experts now analysing their data to establish what happened.
Sonu Jaiswal, a liquor store owner from Ghazipur, India, was one of the five Indian residents who were killed in Sunday’s crash.
The 35-year-old was catching the plane to Pokhara after visiting the famed Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu to pay obeisance.
The father of two daughters had made a vow to visit the Lord Pashupatinath Temple if he had a son, his relative Vijay Jaiswal told the Press Trust of India (PTI).
“Sonu, along with his three friends, had gone to Nepal on January 10. His main purpose was to pay obeisance to Lord Pashupatinath as his wish to have a son, now six months old, has been fulfilled. But the fate had something else in store for him,” the relative said.
At the time of speaking to the publication, the relative said Mr Jaiswal’s family had not been informed about his death.
Mr Jaiswal was accompanied by his three friends Abhishek Kushwaha, 25, Vishal Sharma, 22, and Anil Kumar Rajbhar, 27. None of them survived the plane crash.
The group was live streaming on Facebook from the flight when the crash occurred, with the video being shared widely across social media.
According to The Times of India, one of the passengers shouts, “mauj kar di”, meaning “it’s real fun” as the video pans over to the window, showing the city of Pokhara below.
The video pans over to Sonu Jaiswal and briefly shows some of the other passengers on the flight before everything suddenly begins to shake and passengers can be heard screaming.
The footage has not been verified independently by news.com.au, but The Times of India reported it had spoken to Mr Jaiswal’s cousin, Rajat Jaiswal, in the wake of the crash.
“Sonu was on Facebook live after boarding the flight for Pokhara. The live-streaming showed that Sonu and his companions were in a happy mood but all of a sudden flames appeared before the streaming stopped,” he told the publication.
In the footage, the Yeti Airlines logo is visible over Mr Jaiswal’s shoulder, along with what appears to be a Nepalese insurance advert on the seat tray.
Three other victims, Nepali nationals Raju Thakuri, Rabin Hamal and Anil Shahi, were returning from a funeral when the tragedy occurred.
The trio died in the crash on their way back from attending the funeral of Christian evangelist Mathew Philip in Pathanamthitta.
Mr Philip’s grandson, Joel Mathew, told The Times of India that he had contacted someone to check the passenger list for the flight following news of the crash.
“We saw that three among the five had boarded the flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara,” he said.
He added that two other people to had travelled for the funeral had stayed back in Kathmandu.
New theory behind deadly crash
One of the world’s leading aviation experts, Professor Ron Bartsch, has revealed what may have caused the deadly crash.
Speaking to Nine’s Today on Monday morning, Professor Bartsch suggested an aerodynamic stall may have been behind the tragic incident.
He said an optical illusion when travelling over the ground may have caused the pilot to believe they were travelling through the air faster than they actually were, resulting in the plane stalling.
“Aircraft require air to fly in and the air is more rarefied at about 800 meters elevation there,” the professor explained.
“When you’re going over the grounds, it may appear that you’re going a lot faster over the ground than what you’re going through the air. That’s what caused a stall.”
Difficult terrain such as very strong winds and a high altitude also makes it a tough area to fly in, Professor Bartsch added.
“Also the runways are very, very challenging. Some of the most challenging in the world,” he said.
He said it was possible a pilot error could have contributed to the crash, adding the investigation would look at whether there had been “proper training”.
“Normally aircraft don’t just fall out of the sky, particularly modern aircraft,” he said.