Ultralight lost above Sarangkot

Pokhara, October 8

An ultralight has gone missing in the skies of Pokhara today.

The 9NALI closed body aircraft piloted by a Russian pilot had taken off with a South African tourist from Pokhara airport before it went out of contact somewhere over Sarangkot. The pilot and the tourist have been identified as 50-year-old Valerie Putin and Elizabeth Well, aged 40.

According to Pokhara Airport Chief Dipak Baral, they have not been able to establish any contact with the aircraft. “It had taken off from the airport at 10:35am and went our contact range over Sarangkot,” said Baral, adding he aircraft was supposed to return by 11:30am.

“Search for the missing aircraft has started with the help of Shree Air chopper,” said Pom Narayan Shrestha, one of the operators of Pokhara Ultralight, adding, “No trace of the missing aircraft was found despite the aerial search in Sarangkot area and in the area south to Mt. Machhapuchhre today.”

Kaski police chief SP Hari Bahadur Paal said police in the northern part of the district were searching for the aircraft. The missing aircraft was flying to the Annapurna Base Camp for sightseeing.

Pokhara has seen an ultralight accident two years ago. Nepali pilot Stephan Shrestha and Chinese national Jun Liu had died after the aircraft crashed in Pumdibhumdi of Kaski.

The ultralight has only one engine and can soar above 5000 metres.

Ultralight flights are popular for observing the mountain range in the north, the beautiful lakes and landscape of Sarangkot and Pokhara Valley from the air.