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YEKATERINBURG, October 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Urals investigation department on the transport refused to open a criminal case at the complaint by director general of the Avia Zov company Oleg Zolin, who insists that the An-2 plane that went missing in the Sverdlovsk region more than four months ago was hijacked, investigation department spokeswoman Maria Bubkina told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
Earlier, the Serov city court ordered the investigators to pass a procedural decision on Zolin's complaint filed back on June 29.
"A pre-investigation check was carried out at Zolin's complaint, in accordance with the established procedure, and the investigators have refused to initiate criminal proceedings by its results," Bubkina said.
She noted that the investigation into the criminal case over the An-2 disappearance had been suspended because the period allocated for the probe had expired.
"If additional information comes in, the probe will resume," she said.
Meanwhile, the search for the missing plane is continuing. Latest reports said just one AS-350 helicopter was mobilised because of bad weather.
When the weather improves, two more aircraft will join the search, a Mi-8 helicopter of the Ural regional emergency situations centre and an An-3 plane of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry.
The rescuers’ objective is to find the An-2. No additional tasks such as taiga surveys or mapping have been given.
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 neighbouring 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.