Who Was Elena Banduro? Russian Travel Blogger Posted Chilling Final Selfie Moments Before ATR 72 Yeti Flight Crashed in Nepal Killing 68 On Board

She took a selfie on the flight and posted it with the caption: 'Go to Nepal' minutes before the plane crashed.

  • Updated
One of the 68 people killed in the Nepal plane crash was a Moscow-based travel blogger who shared her worldwide adventures online. Elena Banduro, 33, was on board the ill-fated ATR 72 Yeti Airlines flight that crashed at Pokhara International Airport on Sunday morning killing everyone on board.

Banduro posted excitedly about her latest trip showing her on a plane with the message in English: "Go to Nepal" before being killed in the tragic accident. Shocking videos of the horrific crash have emerged that capture the final moments from both inside and outside before the Yeti Airlines plane crashed on the ground, killing everyone on board.

Tragic Death

Elena Banduro
The final selfie posted by Russian travel blogger Elena Banduro, minutes before the Nepal plane crash Twitter

Banduro was enjoying her trip to Nepal and suggested to his followers online to visit the country, only to die in a horrific plane crash. She took a selfie on the flight and posted it with the caption: 'Go to Nepal' minutes before the plane crashed.

On Sunday, her social media was flooded with condolence comments, and some referred to her as "the brightest, kindest soul we knew."

Elena Banduro
Elena Banduro Twitter

The tragic blogger had a job managing social media and had traveled extensively. Viktoria Altunina, Yuri Lugin, and Viktor Lagin were three other Russians who died on the flight.

There were 72 passengers on the ill-fated flight, including a total of 15 foreign nationals.

Alexei Novikov, the Russian ambassador to Nepal, earlier confirmed that four Russian citizens on board the crashed jet died in the crash. "Unfortunately, four citizens of the Russian Federation died," he said.

Elena Banduro
Elena Banduro Twitter

"We are in constant contact with the Nepalese authorities and will provide all necessary assistance to the relatives of the dead Russians."

This came as one of the passengers on board the ill-fated plane appeared to have live-streamed the final moments on Facebook Live. The video, which was allegedly captured by an Indian man by the name of Sonu Jaiswal, appears to show passengers grinning as the jet passes over buildings.

The Yeti Airlines logo can be seen over Jaiswal's shoulder, and there is also an advertisement for Nepalese insurance on the tray of the aircraft.

Suddenly there is an explosion and the screen goes topsy-turvy. The final few seconds show a horrifying fire outside the window and cries of distraught passengers can be heard. The phone kept on recording even as the plane was engulfed in flames.

Tragedy Strikes Mid-Air

Jaiswal's phone was recovered from the debris at the site of the crash. Jaiswal was one of the five Indians killed in the fatal crash, who live streamed the video on Facebook Live.

Nepal Plane Crash
Sonu Agarwal was one of the passengers killed in the Nepal plane crash who captured the final moments during Facebook LIve Twitter

Although the veracity of the video has not independently verified, the Times of India claims to have spoken to Jaiswal's cousin, who confirmed the 29-year-old was on the aircraft. According to the investigation, just before the collision, one of Jaiswal's companions—all three of whom were also Indians — shouted, "It's real fun!"

Jaiswal was broadcasting on Facebook Live after boarding the plane for Pokhara, according to his cousin Rajat Jaiswal, who was quoted in the report. "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."

Another dramatic video doing the rounds on social media captures the flight's progress from the ground as it started landing before bursting into flames. According to reports, the jet then abruptly tipped to the left, spun upside down, and erupted into a ball of fire.

The crash involved a twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft operated by Yeti Airlines. The flight was making the 30-minute journey from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, to Pokhara.

The plane had 72 passengers, including 15 foreign nationals, and at least 68 are reported to have been killed when it crashed into a canyon not far from the city's new airport.

Nepal plane crash
The final few seconds before the plane carrying 72 passengers in Nepal crashes on the airport killing scores Twitter

According to Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority, the disaster's exact cause is yet unknown.

The aircraft crashed after losing touch with the airport at 10.50 am local time, according to the aviation authority. As it made its landing approach to the airport, video appears to show the plane suddenly tilting and falling toward the ground.

The plane had five Indians, four Russians, one Irish, two South Korean, one Australian, one French and one Argentinian national onboard, a Nepal airport official said.

This article was first published on January 16, 2023