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YEKATERINBURG, June 21 (Itar-Tass) —— Search parties looking for an An-2 airplane that got missing in the Sverdlovsk region on June 11 have already combed more than 90,000 kilometers. As many as 14 aircrafts are involved in the search operation, a spokesman for the regional emergencies administration told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
“In all, the search operation involves 1,300 people and 342 vehicles. About 100 rescuers arrived from the city of Tyumen, 20 – from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous area, 15 – from the city of Kurgan, and 24 – from Chelyabinsk. An An-26 airplane, six Mi-8 helicopters, four An-2 planes, two As-350 helicopters, and a BO-105 helicopter take part in the operation,” the spokesman said. “On Thursday, aircrafts will make flights over areas to the east of the town of Serov, from where the ill-fortune An-2 took off ten days ago. The will also inspect territories around the Denezhkin Kamen nature reserve and the Konzhakovsky Kamen district.”
Ground search teams will inspect the areas near Ust-Typyl and around the Katasminsky bogs. Local police comb the territory from the Serov-Pospelkovo motorway to the railway. “The search operation has been extended to the territory of the neighboring Khanty-Mansi autonomous area, Perm Territory, Tyumen region, and the republic of Komi. Psychologists work with the relatives of the people who were onboard the plane,” the spokesman noted.
“The An-2 had fuel enough to cover a distance of up to 500 kilometers. Perhaps, the plane took off for Verkhoturye to make a flight over the local churches and monasteries. Search parties have been sent to this area as well. Rescuers also re-comb taiga sections they have already inspected. The territory was broken into smaller sections,” said Valery Gorelykh, the spokesman for the Sverdlovsk region police department.
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 the pilot and 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.
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.