Ultralight aircraft with two on board missing in Nepal

KATHMANDU (AFP) - An ultralight aircraft with two people on board went missing in western Nepal on Thursday (Oct 08) during a morning flight to see the country's snow-capped peaks, an official said.

The plane, with a Russian pilot and a South African passenger, took off midmorning on an hour-long sightseeing tour from Pokhara, the tourist town's airport chief Deepak Baral said.

"When the flight didn't return to Pokhara airport, we started to make enquiries and realised it was missing," Baral told AFP.

"We will continue to search for it," he added.

Depending on the amount of fuel on board, such planes can stay in the air for up to four hours, according to Baral.

Pokhara, about 150km west of Kathmandu and flanked by the majestic Annapurna range, attracts thousands of visitors annually thanks to its scenic mountain views and clear, dry winters.

But the April 25 earthquake which killed nearly 8,900 people raised fears for the immediate future of the tourism industry in the impoverished Himalayan nation.