YEKATERINBURG, November 8 (Itar-Tass) — Aerial search for an An-2 airplane that went missing in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region in June has been wound down, the press service of the regional government reported on Thursday.
“Aerial search for the missing An-2 plane were stopped after permanent snow cover set in in the area and air temperatures dropped below zero. The ground search operation might soon be stopped as well,” the press service said.
According to the regional emergencies ministry, the search operation currently involves 60 rescuers, another 46 are in a standby regime. “Ground parties of rescuers and policemen use KAMAZ trucks and UAZ off-roadsters to comb an area near the settlement of Cherny Yar, west of the village of Veselovka and Vasilyevsky Kamen mount. Since June, ground search parties have walked down about 3,000 square kilometers,” a ministry spokesman said.
In all, more than 300,000 square kilometers have been surveyed, of which some 115,000 square kilometers have been surveyed twice.
In the evening on June 11, pilot Khatib Kashapov, a native of the town of Orsk, Orenburg region, took off on crop-duster An-2 without permission. The plane belonged to Avia Zov, a company based in Chelyabinsk. There were the pilot and twelve passengers onboard. 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.