MOSCOW, September 26 (Itar-Tass) — The Kalinin district court of Chelyabinsk fined the director of the AVIA-ZOV company, the owner of the missing An-2 plane, for not reporting its disappearance promptly. The An-2 went missing about four months ago, the court's press service told Itar-Tass.
"The court ascertained that Oleg Zolin had not reported the crop duster's failure to return to the Serov airfield. Zolin admitted his guilt. He explained that on June 11, he was on a business trip and that at night, the second pilot phoned him to tell that the An-2 had taken off. He assured Zolin that the plane would return soon. Zolin later came to the airfield, but the aircraft never returned," the press service said.
Zolin earlier insisted that the An-2 had been hijacked.
Regional police said in the evening of June 11, a group of persons drank alcohol before boarding the plane in Serov. Several cars were left behind in the airfield. Supposedly, they belonged to passengers. Under one of the versions, the group might have gone fishing or flown to a sauna in a neighboring region. The passengers' mobile phones did not answer.
According to preliminary information, Khatib Kashapov, a native of the town of Orsk, Orenburg region, took off on crop-duster An-2 without permission. It reportedly had up to 13 persons on board and the pilot, including the Serov road police chief, a road policeman, a guard, a pensioner, a businessman, a mobile phone seller and others, regional police chief Valery Gorelykh said.
Criminal proceedings were opened over the disappearance of the An-2 plane under Criminal Code article on "violation of aircraft operation regulations and traffic rules, which resulted in the death of two or more persons by negligence."
The quality of fuel could not have caused the crash, investigators confirmed later. "A physical-chemical expert examination of fuel samples showed that the fuel and oil used by the An-2 conformed to GOST /standard/ and that it had not contained any admixtures. The fuel could not fail the engine during the flight," acting head of the Ural investigation department on the transport, Investigative Committee /SK/, Vladimir Kulakov said.
Nizhny Tagil radio fan Valentin Degtyarev claimed he had intercepted a signal from the An-2 and the local authorities scrambled to pinpoint the possible locations it could have come from. However, experts said they had failed to decipher the radio signal recorded by the radio fan.
"The investigators obtained the results of the expert examination of the audio file given by Nizhny Tagil resident Valentin Degtyarev. The expert examination was carried out by expert’s at the transport office of the district police department. "An analysis of the audio files ascertained a lack of coherent voice signal either at the level of words or phrase," an Investigative Committee official told Tass.