Co-Pilot in Nepal Crash Learned How to Fly After Her Pilot Husband Died in 2006 Crash

Co-Pilot in Nepal Crash Learned How to Fly After Her Pilot Husband Died in 2006 Crash

Anju Khatiwada, a co-pilot on the plane that crashed in Nepal and left at least 69 people dead over the weekend, decided to pursue flying as a career after her husband, who was a pilot, died in a 2006 plane crash.

Khatiwada, 44, is now feared dead after Yeti Airlines flight 691 came down around 10:50 a.m. local time Sunday, per Reuters.

"Her husband, Dipak Pokhrel, died in 2006 in a crash of a Twin Otter plane of Yeti Airlines in Jumla," airline spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula told the outlet. "She got her pilot training with the money she got from the insurance after her husband's death."

Speaking with CNN, Bartaula said that Khatiwada, who joined Yeti Airlines in 2010, received training in the United States and had over 6,300 hours of flying experience. The spokesperson went on to call her "a brave woman with all the courage and determination."

Khatiwada, a captain, was flying with an instructor pilot for additional training when the crash occurred, Bartaula told CNN.

RELATED: At Least 68 People Killed in Nepal Airplane Crash: 'Half of the Plane Is on the Hillside'

Pursuing being a pilot meant an end to her nursing career, according to The New York Times.

"After her husband's tragic death, she was determined to become a pilot," a relative and friend of her father's told the newspaper.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by KRISHNA MANI BARAL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13715777l) A general view of rescue teams working near the wreckage at the crash site of a Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft in Pokhara, central Nepal, 15 January 2023. A Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft carrying 72 people on board, 68 passengers and 4 crew members, crashed into a gorge while trying to land at the Pokhara International Airport. According to a statement from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), at least 68 people were confirmed dead. Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft carrying 68 passengers and 4 crew members crashes in Pokhara, Nepal - 15 Jan 2023
Mandatory Credit: Photo by KRISHNA MANI BARAL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13715777l) A general view of rescue teams working near the wreckage at the crash site of a Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft in Pokhara, central Nepal, 15 January 2023. A Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft carrying 72 people on board, 68 passengers and 4 crew members, crashed into a gorge while trying to land at the Pokhara International Airport. According to a statement from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), at least 68 people were confirmed dead. Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft carrying 68 passengers and 4 crew members crashes in Pokhara, Nepal - 15 Jan 2023

KRISHNA MANI BARAL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Her remains have not been identified, but the remains of flight captain Kamal K.C. have, an airline spokesperson told Reuters. The captain had over 21,900 hours of flight time.

"On Sunday, she was flying the plane with an instructor pilot, which is the standard procedure of the airline," said an unnamed airline official who knew Khatiwada, per Reuters. "She was always ready to take up any duty."

While the cause of the crash remains unknown, video shared by the BBC appears to show the aircraft turning sideways as it went down into the nearby Seti River Gorge. An investigation is underway.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by BIJAYA NEUPANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13715777c) Rescue teams work at the crash site of a Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft in Pokhara, central Nepal, 15 January 2023. A Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft carrying 72 people on board, 68 passengers and 4 crew members, crashed into a gorge while trying to land at the Pokhara International Airport. According to a statement from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), at least 68 people were confirmed dead. Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft carrying 68 passengers and 4 crew members crashes in Pokhara, Nepal - 15 Jan 2023
Mandatory Credit: Photo by BIJAYA NEUPANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13715777c) Rescue teams work at the crash site of a Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft in Pokhara, central Nepal, 15 January 2023. A Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft carrying 72 people on board, 68 passengers and 4 crew members, crashed into a gorge while trying to land at the Pokhara International Airport. According to a statement from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), at least 68 people were confirmed dead. Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft carrying 68 passengers and 4 crew members crashes in Pokhara, Nepal - 15 Jan 2023

BIJAYA NEUPANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

In an update posted to Twitter Monday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal shared that out of the 72 people on board, 69 bodies had been recovered, and 41 identified. Additionally, they shared that the plane's cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder have both been recovered.

Earlier on Monday, Kaski District Police Chief Superintendent Ajay KC said earlier the chance of finding survivors was "extremely low," per CNN.

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Among those involved in the crash were 15 foreign nationals, the aviation authority shared on Sunday. Of those on board, 37 were men, 25 were women, three were children and three were infants, CNN added.

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The plane involved in the crash was an ATR 72-500, which is often used in the Asia-Pacific region, per CNN, which cited the Aviation Safety Network. "ATR has been informed that an accident occurred in Nepal involving an ATR 72-500. Our first thoughts are with all the individuals affected by this," the company tweeted. "The ATR specialists are fully engaged to support both the investigation and the customer."

"I am deeply saddened by the sad and tragic accident of Yeti Airlines ANC ATR 72 which was flying from Kathmandu to Pokhara with passengers," Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal wrote in a translated tweet over the weekend. "I sincerely appeal to the security personnel, all agencies of the Nepal government and the general public to start an effective rescue."