YEKATERINBURG, January 14, 14:26 /ITAR-TASS/. Investigators said the crash of the An-2 plane near the town of Serov, Sverdlovsk region, in June 2012 occurred because of an error by pilot Khatip Kashapov who supposedly was in a state of alcoholic intoxication.
"According to experts, it was not possible to establish the precise cause of death of the An-2 passengers because of incineration or skeletization of their remains," head of the regional investigation department on the transport Dmitry Putintsev told a news conference on Tuesday.
"He was flying at an inadmissibly low altitude; the plane caught a tree and fell down," Putintsev said. "According to preliminary reports, the pilot was in a state of alcoholic intoxication."
The investigator added that the pilot's relatives had protested the dropping of the criminal case in connection with his death.
"They believe he's innocent. The first part of the criminal case will be forwarded to the court in February. The case is largely finished; we have experts' conclusions and the results of expert examinations," Putintsev said.
Putintsev's aide Marina Bubkina said last year the remains of Kashapov and former road police chief Dmitry Ushakov had been found next to the pilot's cabin. The remains of Anton Safonov, another An-2 passenger, were found nearby. It is not possible to tell if these two passengers were in the cockpit, Bubkina said.
"An inspection of the plane showed that the fuselage was fully destroyed by the fire and that the screen between the cockpit and the cabin was missing. Investigators believe the location of bone fragments can be explained by several factors: movement of the passengers to the nose of the plane because of the impact with the ground with their subsequent shifting in the ensuring fare and possible moving of body fragments by wild animals," she said.
Plane fragments were found one year after An-2 disappearance by local hunters, as they were inspecting hunting grounds in a wood eight kilometers form the town of Serov. Remains of 13 people who had been on board were found as well.
On June 11, 2012, pilot Khatip Kashapov flew the An-2 from the town of Serov without permission. The plane belonged to the Avia Zov company. The search was officially halted on November 13, 2012. Search parties surveyed more than 1 million square kilometers of terrain. The 30-million-rouble rescue effort involved more than 1,500 people, including police, volunteers and civilians, in the Perm Territory, the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen, Kurgan and Sverdlovsk regions and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area.