Blogger’s eerie selfie before plane crash


A Russian travel blogger has been named as one of the victims in the horror Nepal plane crash – the country’s worst aircraft tragedy in nearly five years.

Elena Banduro, 33, a social media manager from Moscow, regularly posted about her travel adventures.

In one of her final posts before her tragic death, she excitedly shared a selfie on a plane with the caption: “Go to Nepal.”

Elena’s Facebook and Instagram pages have since been flooded with messages of condolences where she has been described as the “brightest” and “kindest soul”.

“Fly high sis, and go to the places you dreamt of going,” a friend posted on her wall.

“Rest in peace beautiful soul,” wrote another.

According to her Facebook bio, Elena was the head of social media marketing at a Russian-based company called МойОфис – My Office.

She also previously held the title of public relations specialist at a separate firm with her social media accounts filled with her global travel adventures.

In October, the 33-year-old travelled to the Caucasus Nature Reserve, a Russian nature sanctuary covering a heavily mountainous section of the Northwest Caucasus Mountains, where she shared stunning pictures of her hike.

For her latest trip, she was heading to Nepal. However, Elena was among four Russians who died on the flight. The others named as Viktoria Altunina, Yuri Lugin and Viktor Lagin.

Russian ambassador to Nepal Alexei Novikov said he is currently in constant contact with the Nepalese authorities and will provide all necessary assistance to the relatives of the dead Russians.

In total, there were 72 people on board the ATR-72 turboprop, reportedly including an Australian, when it crashed on Sunday.

At least 68 of the passengers and crew were confirmed to have died, the police said, however it is not known if the Australian is among the dead.

Hundreds of rescue workers helped scour the site in the hope of finding someone still alive. However the search for survivors has now been called off.

The plane was flying from Kathmandu, the capital of the Himalayan kingdom, to the central town of Pokhara when it crashed and caught fire, sending thick black smoke into the sky, according to The Times News Service.

Footage moments before crash

Horrifying footage has emerged appearing to show the final moments of the doomed passenger plane before it crashed.

The video, which has been shared on social media, shows what is reported to be the Yeti Airlines plane flying low towards what appears to be a residential building before abruptly turning 90 degrees and coming even lower to the ground.

It then disappears from view before the camera is turned towards the ground. Then there is a loud noise, followed by what sounds like screams.

Journalist for the BBC and CNN, Wajahat Kazmi, shared the footage and said: “Horrifying last moments of an ATR plane crash from Nepal.”

Airline spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula told the plane crashed between the old and new Pokhara airports in central Nepal.

Straight after the crash, the wreckage was on fire and rescue workers were trying to put out the blaze, said local official Gurudutta Dhakal.

Arun Tamu, a local resident, told Reuters that he had witness the aftermath of the crash.

“Half of the plane is on the hillside. The other half has fallen into the gorge of the Seti River.”

“Responders have already reached there and trying to douse the fire. All agencies are now focused on first dousing the fire and rescuing the passengers,” Mr Dhakal said.

The Yeti Airlines’ ATR-72 was 15 years old. The French/Italian aircraft type is popular around the world and is primarily used on shorter, regional routes. None are operated by Australian airlines but the ATR-72 is in service with Air New Zealand which has 29 in its fleet.

Since its introduction in 1989, the ATR-72 has been involved in 12 fatal incidents with around 400 fatalities.

The European Union has banned all Nepali carriers from its airspace over safety concerns since 2013.

with Kate Schneider and AFP

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