The family of a Christian priest in Kerala is mourning the death of three of their friends who died in the plane crash in Nepal while returning home after attending the missionary’s funeral at Anikadu near Pathanamthitta on Friday.
At least 68 people were killed when the plane crashed into a river gorge while landing at the newly-opened airport in the resort city of Pokhara on Sunday in the Himalayan nation’s deadliest aviation accident in over 30 years.
The victims Raju, Robin and Anil were among the group of five people who came to attend the funeral of Mathew Philip who was an evangelical Christian missionary in Nepal for almost 45 years.
Philip, 76, died on January 11 after battling cancer for two years.
“The funeral was on January 13. Their flight was from Kochi to Mumbai and from there to Kathmandu. Deepak and Saran, could not board the ill-fated flight from Kathmandu but the other three took the flight. The news was a shock to us,” Philip’s brother Thomas told PTI.
Philip had returned from Nepal two years ago and was undergoing treatment for cancer.
Yeti Airlines’ 9N-ANC ATR-72 aircraft took off from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport at 10:33 AM and crashed on the bank of the Seti River between the old airport and the new airport, minutes before landing, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
A total of 68 passengers and four crew members were on board the aircraft.
Fifteen foreign nationals onboard the plane included five Indians, four Russians, two Koreans, an Australian, a French, an Argentine, and an Israeli.