An Afghan doctor who was a newlywed and a teenager who had plans of traveling the world have been named as two of the victims who fell to their death after clinging to a US military plane taking off from Kabul as they tried to flee the Taliban takeover.
Mohammed Vida, 22, was one of several Afghan’s who were captured on viral videos rushing onto the tarmac of the capital’s airport and desperately holding onto to the side of the plane before takeoff, in a widely shared video that captured the sense of desperation as America’s 20-year war comes to a chaotic end.
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Other videos showed Afghans falling from mid-air from the US plane leaving the airport.
Speaking to Al Arabiya, the 22-year-old’s father Pineda wept as he spoke about his dead son.
The grieving father said his son spent years studying at school, and then at the university where he graduated, before getting a job in a private hospital.
He had just gotten married a year ago but had accumulated debt from his wedding, he said.
He was looking for a way to travel abroad, to work and pay off his debt and then found the opportunity when he learned that Americans were transporting Afghans from Kabul to the US by plane, his father said.
Pineda said that he only learned of his son’s death after he received a phone call with the caller saying he had witnessed a man falling from a plane. Vida had written his father’s number on a piece of paper which was discovered in his pocket.
Also hoping to flee the Taiban rule was 17-year-old Reza, Vice reported Thursday.
Reza left home with his 16-year-old brother, Kabeer, on Monday.
The brothers fled for the airport in hopes of escaping, fearing life under Taliban rule.
Neither of them made it back home.
“We are really upset that we’ve lost two,” a family member told VICE World News. “We’ve found the body of one of them, but the other one is still missing.”
Reza’s death was also caught on the harrowing clips that went viral on social media, as specks in the sky—later confirmed to be people—were spotted falling off the plane.
One of them was later confirmed to be Reza.
The family recovered Reza’s body but has yet to find Kabeer, who’s still missing. VICE World News changed the names of both boys since they are minors, and to protect their families.
“We hope to find him dead or alive so it will console our family,” said the family member, referring to Kabeer. “We are worried, and we went from one hospital to another, but we didn’t get any information.”
“His mother is devastated; she is passing out every now and then.”
The brothers had heard a rumor that 20,000 people would be relocated to Canada or the US, bolstering their decision to try their luck at the airport.
“Without telling anyone in the house, he took his personal ID, and left to the airport,” the family member said.
Several people died after falling off the flying C-17 aircraft, while human remains were found in the landing gear of a plane of the same model.
As Kabul turned chaotic, the family member said they called Reza’s phone but somebody else had picked up. The person on the other end of the line informed the family that he had found Reza’s phone. Worried, several members of the family went to the Kabul airport to find the brothers.
There, witnesses who saw people fall off a plane, tracked down the bodies and carried them out of the airport. The family identified the mangled body of Reza.
“His legs and arms were gone. I brought him back myself,” said the family member.