YEKATERINBURG, June 18 (Itar-Tass) — Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuivashev issued instructions on Monday to engage more people in the ground search teams trying to find an An-2 aircraft with eight passengers onboard which has been missing for seven days, the governor’s information department reports.
It also said the governor had given instructions to ensure regular supply of aviation fuel to the region of the search-and-rescue operation. According to the department, the total area of search makes up 160,000 square kilometers, and more than 50,000 of them have already been inspected from aircraft. All in all 281 units of hardware and six aircraft are used in the search operation.
“According to the first deputy head of the Sverdlovsk region’s EMERCOM department, Valery Ustinov, 15 pedestrian routes have been fixed for work in areas where hardware cannot be used,” the department reports. They have already covered 578 square kilometers, the department said.
“Over 1,000 people take part in the operation, including police, emergencies ministry stuffers, forest rangers, hunters, search-and-rescue teams as well as volunteers,” it said. “The leadership of the emergencies ministry’s regional department has asked the leadership of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area to send a drone that will also examine northern areas of the region,” the department said.
Search is also conducted in neighboring regions, where search groups examine territories adjacent to the Sverdlovsk region border.
According to preliminary data, the An-2 plane took off from the city of Serov on June 11 without permission in an unknown direction. 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.
Updated reports say there were up to 13 people on board.