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Sverdlovsk region police officials fired following An-2 disappearance

June 14, 2012, 11:39 UTC+3

The Interior Ministry sent a group of personnel from its internal security service to Serov with a fact-finding mission

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YEKATERINBURG, June 14 (Itar-Tass) — The police officials whose subordinates were on board of the An-2 plane which is missing in the Sverdlovsk region have been fired, regional police spokesman Valery Gorelykh told Itar-Tass.

The order dismissing Serov police department chief Colonel Sergei Tsilinsky will become effective after he returns from holiday. His acting deputy Boris Lenyuchev has been fired as well. Regional road police chief Yuri Demin has been severely reprimanded for incompetence.

The spokesman said regional police chief Mikhail Borodin had made the decision after examining the preliminary results of the check into the disappearance of the plane. "After the end of the check, a number of Sverdlovsk police were disciplined," Gorelykh said, "Mikhail Borodin has repeatedly warned them that educating their staff is a permanent, not one-time-only effort, so that they can behave adequately in different situations."

Regional police said in the evening of June 11, a group of persons drank alcohol before boarding the plane. Several cars were left behind in the airfield. Supposedly, they belong to passengers. Under one of the versions, the group might have gone fishing or flown to a sauna in a neighboring region. The passengers' mobile phones do not answer.

According to preliminary information, Khatib Kashapov, a native of the town of Orsk, Orenburg region, took off on crop-duster An-2 without permission. The plane belongs to Avi Zov, a company based in Chelyabinsk.

"It can have up to eight persons on board, including the Serov road police chief, a road policeman, a guard, a pensioner, a businessman, a mobile phone seller and others," Gorelykh said on Wednesday, "taking part in the rescue efforts are 73 police, seven personnel of the Emergency Situations Ministry, two aircraft and a Mi-8 helicopter."

The plane has not been found yet. There have been no reports that it might have met with the accident, either.

Sverdlovsk region governor Yevgeny Kuivashev demanded a thorough probe into the incident.

Kuivashev also ordered to check the small-range aviation airfields for compliance with flight safety rules.

The Interior Ministry sent a group of personnel from its internal security service to Serov with a fact-finding mission.

Criminal proceedings were opened over the disappearance of the An-2 plane under Criminal Code article on "violation of aircraft operation regulations and traffic rules, which resulted in the death of two or more persons by negligence," an official at the Urals investigation department on the transport told Tass. 

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