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MOSCOW, January 29. /ITAR-TASS/. A search team AviaPoisk that searches for missing WWII air crews has raised the fragments of the Soviet-era attack plane Il-2M-3 and the remains of the aircraft’s crew near the town of Artyom on the Russian Pacific coast. The plane, which belonged to the Air Force of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, crashed when making a test flight in spring 1945, representative for the Russian Pacific Fleet Captain First Rank Roman Martov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
According to the archives, the plane crashed when the aircrew was training ground targets assault. Commandant of the AviaPoisk team Yaroslav Livansky said that the plane crashed as a result of the detonation of shells on board, which destroyed the plane's wing and caused the plane to fall in an uncontrollable mode.
The aircraft’s crew — a pilot, Lieutenant Nikolai Aksyonov and a radio-gunner, Sergeant Dmitry Shatalov were killed in the crash, the spokesperson said. In the near future operations to lift the remainder of the plane fragments will be resumed, Martov said.
The plane raised from the sea belonged to the 37th Air Force regiment of the Pacific Fleet, which in 1945 was stationed on Krolevets airbase in the south of the Maritime territory and took an active part in military operations against Japan.
The AviaPoisk team, which has been operating for seven years now, searches for the remains of Air Force pilots who were either killed or reported missing on the territory of the Maritime region. The search team established the whereabouts of more than 50 lost planes, which mostly belonged to the Pacific Fleet Air Force, and organized the funeral of the remains of 17 pilots, killed in 1938-1955, and buried them with military honors.
In May 2012, the command of the Russian Pacific Fleet awarded a Medal for active military-patriotic work to head of the AviaPoisk team Yaroslavl Livansky.