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Utahns’ drone footage shows devastating aftermath in Nepal

(Lindsay Daniels)


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NEPAL — Two Utahns filming a documentary in India shifted their focus and began capturing dramatic footage of the devastating aftermath from the Nepal earthquake.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit April 25 and by late Thursday, the government said the toll from the tremor — the most powerful recorded earthquake in Nepal since 1934 — had risen to 6,130 dead and 13,827 injured, the Associated Press said.

At the time of the earthquake, Salt Lake City residents Lindsay Daniels and Chris Davis were in Delhi, India, with San Francisco-resident Casey Allred filming “Stolen Innocence,” a documentary about human trafficking in India.

“We were in Delhi having a production meeting when we felt two small tremors within an hour of each other,” Daniels said. “We didn’t really think anything of it until we saw the news a half hour later. We started trying to call our friends in Nepal to make sure they were OK. We couldn’t get through to everybody so we decided to go to Kathmandu to start looking for them and set up some sort of relief efforts.”

Daniels said their crew got on a flight to Nepal the next day.

“A usual one-hour flight took about eight hours and most of that time was sitting on tarmacs,” she said. “The airport was full of people trying to get out of the country and the only people coming in were reporters and volunteer crews. The night we arrived, we hardly slept with all the tremors.”

Daniels said they teamed up with the largest volunteer group in Kathmandu with over 200 volunteers, 75 motorbikes and two dozen trucks. They began delivering medical and food supplies to victims of the earthquake.

“For many Nepali who are suffering, we are the first ones to help them,” she said. “What started as a trip to find lost friends has turned into an amazing effort of local college students and entrepreneurs saving lives.”

However, Daniels said one of their friends was killed in the destruction — Google Executive Dan Fredinburg. Fredinburg had been climbing Mt. Everest, and in support of their film, he was carrying a “Stolen Innocence” flag to put on top of Everest, Daniels said.

The crew brought their camera equipment to Nepal and decided to document the damage of the earthquake. Daniels said they were shocked by what they saw.

“Drones offer an incredibly unique vantage point, especially in a situation like this earthquake,” she said. “From the ground, the damage looks bad enough, but once we started seeing the scope of the damage from above, it looked horrible. It was pretty shocking to see how much damage there really was. No one really knew. Every time we look at the footage it's hard to believe.”

Daniels said their crew will stay in Nepal to help as long as they can and they plan to create a documentary of the earthquake.

“It's been life changing,” she said. “Nothing in my life has prepared me to see what I've seen, but everything I've done in my life has prepared me to help these people.”

Daniels and other volunteers also set up an online account* to raise funds for the rescue effort in Nepal.


*KSL.com does not assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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