VLADIMIR, June 22. /TASS/. A conspiracy of officials may be behind hijacking a Yak-52 plane from the aerodrome in Ishim, a town in southern Russia’s Tyumen region, DOSAAF (Volunteer Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Fleet) deputy head Alexander Makeyev told TASS on Monday.
The suspects may have helped in selling the plane, and changing the plane’s number serves as evidence of that, Makeyev said. "We think that the number was changed on purpose," he noted.
According to DOSAAF, the Yak-52 plane was subject to write-off, as the term of operation for the aircraft has already expired. Makeyev noted that someone probably changed the plane’s number in order to take it from the aerodrome without obstacles and sell to a new owner.
"It is probably some kind of conspiracy of officials. We could not sell it. And if documents were reissued, it could not be only from the side of DOSAAF," Makeyev said.
According to earlier reports, two private planes — Gardan GY-80-160 and Yak-52 — took off without permission from an aerodrome in Ishim. A Yak-52 pilot later made emergency landing at an airdrome belonging to DOSAAF (Volunteer Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Fleet) aviation and sports club in the town of Yalutorovsk, hitting engineering structures. The Yak-52 pilot then boarded the Gardan GY-80-160 plane and flew in an unknown direction.
The police later located suspects in hijacking the Yak-52 plane. Senior assistant to head of Investigative Committee’s Urals investigative department for transport Natalya Gunkina said they are currently in the Vladimir Region.
"The [hijacked] plane was subject to write-off, and DOSAAF did not sell it because it belonged to Rosimushchestvo [Federal Agency for State Property Management]. The plane’s number could have been forged. Yes, there was a request for taking off, but it did not go through. Consequently, when the plane took off, we registered it, but no one would have known anything if it hadn’t made an emergency landing," Makeyev said.
He stressed that pilots were not members of DOSAAF. Makeyev earlier suggested that suspected hijackers could enter the cabin under false pretenses. The second hijacked plane was also not registered with DOSAAF.