These file photos show the ultralight aircraft that crashed in Pokhara on Wednesday killing its Russian pilot Alexandr Maximov (inset). Photo Courtesy: Avia Club
POKHARA, Nov 23: Russian pilot Alexandr Maximov, who had helped minimize considerable damages by timely alerting the locals about massive incoming flash flood in Seti River nearly four years ago, died in an unfortunate ultra-light aircraft crash in Pokhara on Wednesday morning. He was 62.
The ultra-light aircraft he was piloting lost its balance shortly after it took off and crashed near the runway. Police and sources at the Avia Club in Pokhara, where he worked as senior pilot and trainer, informed that he breathed his last while undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
A Canadian woman, Jilleni Volker, who was traveling in the ill-fated aircraft with the call sign 9N-ALL, was injured in the accident that took place at the club's own Lauruk-based airfield in Kaski district. She sustained severe injuries in the crash and is currently undergoing treatment at a Pokhara-based hospital, according to the police.
“Preliminary investigation shows that the ultra-light aircraft lost its balance and crashed after a rope tied to a hang-glider snapped while being pulled by the aircraft,” informed Inspector Mohanmani Adhikari of Baidam Police Post, adding that massive amount of blood loss due to head injury ultimately led to the death of the pilot.
Having over 5,000 hours of flight experience in Pokhara, Maximov was considered an experienced pilot who had been flying the ultra-light aircraft in Nepal for the past 14 years.
He was also the first to fly “Danphe”, an ultra-light aircraft engineered by a team of Nepali youths for the first time in the country.
Maximov has a huge contribution in producing quality Nepali pilots. “His untimely death is an irreparable loss to all of us,” said Santa Lamichhane, a pilot working at the Avia Club.
“He was an excellent mentor and a very good person. We have lost our main instructor and an awesome colleague.”
This is not the first incident of ultra-light aircraft crash in Pokhara. About three years ago, another aircraft of Avia Club had crashed, killing pilot Stephen Shrestha and a Chinese tourist.
Thousands of tourists visit Pokhara every year to enjoy flight in ultra-light aircraft while being mesmerized by the breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and mountains.
Currently, three companies offer ultra-light flights in the tourist-hub.