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YEKATERINBURG, June 14 (Itar-Tass) — Divers have joined the search operation for an An-2 plane which has been missing in the Sverdlovsk region for four days after an unauthorized take off, a spokesman for the regional emergencies administration told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
According to the spokesman, divers have searched the Kiselevskoye dam lake and the Karpinsky canal located in the vicinity of the town of Serov where the plane took off from.
“Apart from that, six aircrafts are flying over a territory of 12,000 square meters. Ranger teams are working in a number of regions of the Urals federal district. Psychologists are working with the relatives of those who were presumably onboard the ill-fortune plane. Supposedly, there were 12 passengers and one pilot onboard,” the spokesman said.
According to preliminary data, after having some alcohol in the evening on June 11, the plane’s pilot 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. Among the plane’s passengers presumably are the chief of Serov’s traffic police, a traffic police officer, an officer of a private bodyguard company, a businessman, a salesman from a telecom shop, and others.
A criminal case was opened on charges of violations of air traffic safety and aircraft operation rules that resulted in the death through negligence of one or more people.
Police officials whose subordinates were on board of the plane, Serov police department chief Colonel Sergei Tsilinsky and his acting deputy Boris Lenyuchev, were fired. Regional traffic police chief Yuri Demin was severely reprimanded for incompetence.