Fact-checking images and video claiming to show deadly Nepal plane crash

A Nepali Yeti Airlines plane crashed on Jan. 15 near an airport in Pokhara. VERIFY is fact-checking images or videos claiming to show scenes from the deadly crash.
Credit: Various

Editor’s note: This article contains graphic images of plane crashes or wreckage.

A Yeti Airlines flight making a 27-minute flight to a Nepal tourist town crashed into a gorge on Jan. 15, killing at least 69 of the 72 people aboard.

According to Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority, the twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft was operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines and was flying from the capital, Kathmandu, 125 miles west to Pokhara. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Since the plane crash, images and video have spread online claiming to show the harrowing moments before the crash and images of the plane’s crash site.

VERIFY fact-checked whether these videos and images show the scene from Nepal. 


This video claims to show the moments before the plane crashed. The right wing of the plane catches on fire before the plane lands in a wooded area. A large plume of smoke erupts from the ground. The video, shared multiple times on Twitter, has hundreds of thousands of views. 

Does this video show the Yeti Airlines plane crash landing in Pokhara, Nepal?



This is false.

No, this video is not of the plane crash in Nepal.  It shows a 2021 plane crash in Moscow, Russia. 


Using InVid, a video forensics tool, VERIFY analyzed the keyframes of the viral video and conducted a reverse image search of the frames.

We traced those images back to a video of a different plane crash from August 2021. That video shows a military transport plane crashing while performing a test flight outside Moscow.

The original video was posted to Twitter on Aug. 17, 2021, with the caption (written in Russian, translated via Google): “A II112 military transport plane crashed in the Moscow region. There were three people on board.”

The crash was covered by several news outlets at the time, see here and here


This video claims to be taken from a passenger inside the plane moments before the crash. The video shows a passenger looking out the window, before a crash is heard and what appears to be flames engulfing the plane.

The video has been shared widely on social media and has amassed millions of views.

Is this video from inside a plane from the Jan. 15 crash in Nepal?



This is true.

Yes, the video is real. Government officials told local media that the person livestreaming was on the plane and family members of the passenger confirmed to local media the video was streamed on his Facebook account.  


According to news reports from Nepal, the footage was live streamed to Facebook by 35-year-old Sonu Jaiswal, who was confirmed as a passenger aboard the plane. Friends and family members told reporters they watched the video from his Facebook account, which is locked so only friends can see what is shared on his profile. 

Rajat Jaiswal, who said he was Sonu Jaiswal’s cousin, told the Deccan Herald: “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 suddenly, flames appear before the streaming stopped.”

A former lawmaker in Nepal told Indian news station NDTV the live stream is real and said the phone was recovered from the wreckage. 

The video first went viral across Indian Facebook groups and news outlets, the reports said, before being shared more widely across social media. 

The video was taken as the plane was approaching the airport in Pokhara. According to Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority, the plane crashed in the Selt river gorge about 1,800 meters (roughly 1.12 miles) from the airport. 

VERIFY was able to confirm the video was taken near the Pokhara airport using aerial views seen on Google Maps. We were also able to confirm the video was taken from a Yeti Airlines plane.

Twenty seconds into the video, a pond next to a wooded area can be seen in the video. VERIFY was able to trace that location to the Shree Bhadrakali Temple in Pokhara. The same aerial view in the video can be confirmed by Google Maps. 

Credit: VERIFY

At the 33-second mark of the video, the interior of the plane can be seen and the design of the seats and overhead compartments match what the interior of the Yeti Airlines planes look like. A photo posted to Yeti Airlines Facebook page shows the interior design of their planes 

At 37 seconds into the video, a stadium with a white building next to it can be seen. Based on the location of the crash, VERIFY looked at aerial maps imagery. The stadium seen in the video at the 37 second mark is the Pokhara Football stadium. The same buildings seen in the video can be confirmed via Google Maps

Credit: VERIFY

The stadium is located  near the airport, across the Seti Gandaki River. This confirms the video was taken from that location. 

At 51 seconds into the video, the plane’s logo can be seen through the window. That logo matches the Yeti Airlines logo

VERIFY analyzed each individual keyframe from the video using InVid and RevEye, two verification tools. VERIFY did not find any earlier instance of this video being posted prior to the Jan. 15 plane crash. 


An Instagram post, with more than 15,000 likes, claims to show the Yeti Airlines plane wreckage with people surrounding the site. The photo has a caption on it that says: “Shocking News … Plane with 72 people including 5 indians onboard crashed near Nepal’s Pokhara airport … At least 44 people dead. Praying for Everyone Safety.”

Does the photo show the Yeti Airlines plane crash scene in Nepal?



This is false.

No, the photo shows the crash site involving a Summit Air aircraft at the Lukla Airport in Nepal in 2019.


Using RevEye, a reverse image search engine, VERIFY was able to trace this image back to another plane crash from Nepal that happened in 2019. 

The Kathmandu Post published the same photo on April 14, 2019 along with reporting about the crash, which involved a Summit Air flight at Tenzing-Hillary Airport, also known as the Lukla Airport.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal also confirmed the crash seen in the viral image happened in April 2019 and posted a press release and photo from the scene. 

The logo seen on the plane matches the Summit Air logo, confirming this was a different crash than the one on January 15

Photos from the Summit Air crash were also published on a website called Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archive (B3A), which archives fatal plane crash history. They match the image seen in the viral Instagram post that claims to show the crash in Nepal. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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