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YEKATERINBURG, June 22 (Itar-Tass) —— The pilot of the An-2 airplane that has been missing in the Sverdlovsk region for over ten days might have lost direction because of natural anomalies in the Konzhakovsky Kamen area and made an emergency landing in the taiga, renown Arctic explorer Gennady Chechurin told Itar-Tass on Friday.
According to Chechurin, who has been engaged to help the rescuers as an expert, the plane’s pilot was not experienced enough to be able to orient in the area of Konzhak natural anomalies. Thus, close-to-surface deposits of minerals impact the magnetic field driving compass needle off its natural course by 30 to 40 degrees. Moreover, the sun here goes down in the northerly direction. The area is usually blanketed with clouds, which generate because of artesian springs and small lakes located at an altitude of more than 1,000 meters above sea level.
“Such magnetic anomalies are registered near the Denezhkin Kamen wildlife reserve. So, the plane might have got lost somewhere between these two natural anomalies,” he said. “Now we are trying to get an inside of what the pilot with a 30-year experience might have been guided in his actions. I am sure the experienced pilot made a safe landing. There are much berries and mushrooms in the taiga now, and the weather is rather warm. People can live in such conditions for several days. Let us hope for the better.”
Rescuers refute media allegations that the ill-fortune plane might have trespassed into a secret military base and was shot down.
“When military base radars detect an unidentified flying object in the air, missile defence systems in the area where such object is detected are activated but an order to open fire comes from the Russian defence ministry. We have no secret bases with such arsenal in the area where the plane was lost,” the press service of the Central military district told Itar-Tass.
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.