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Search for lost An-2 plane to be conducted until it is found

June 19, 2012, 17:03 UTC+3
Governor of Russia’s Sverdlovsk region Yevgeny Kuivashev also urged to probe into the incident, which described as a outrageous fact
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YEKATERINBURG, June 19 (Itar-Tass) — Governor of Russia’s Sverdlovsk region Yevgeny Kuivashev has vowed that the search for the lost An-2 airplane with eight passengers onboard will be continued until the plane and the people are found.

At a meeting of the search operation headquarters on Tuesday, he ordered to allocate necessary funds from the regional budget to finance the operation.

He also urged to probe into the incident, which described as a outrageous fact. “But now the most important thing is to find the people,” he noted.

It was decided to engage rescuers from the neighboring regions, the republic of Komi, the Perm Territory, the Khanty-Mansi autonomous area and the Tomsk region, and military aircraft of the defence ministry.

According to Andrei Zalensky, the head of the regional emergencies, unfavorable weather has complicated the search operation. Because of the stormy weather, it is next to impossible to carry out the search operation in the far-to-reach mountainous areas, he said. Moreover, there is practically no information where the plane was heading when it was lost.

It was also decided to engage more Mi-8 helicopters and re-comb areas checked by volunteers and police.

Earlier in the day, rescuers sent a landing party to a hard-to-reach area, where the plane might have made an emergency landing.

Because of the specifics of the territory covered with forests, the use of drones has proved to be inefficient.

“The overall search area is about 160,000 square kilometers. As of now, more than 50,000 square kilometers have been combed. Rescuers have checked about 2,000 settlements, 178 hunting and 145 forestry farms, 295 fishing places, about 15,000 people have been interrogated. The search operation involves three helicopters and two airplanes,” Zalensky said.

According to preliminary data, 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. There were twelve passengers onboard. 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. It is said that they wanted to make a nighttime excursion.

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.

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