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MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. An Ilyushin Il-76 plane that has been engaged in the forest fire extinguishing operation in the Irkutsk region does not go on the air for a radio contact, a source in the regional emergencies services told TASS on Friday.
"The plane flew to extinguish a fire and in some time communication with it was lost," the source said. Its search is now underway.
"At 05:34 am, Moscow time, the plane flew to the Bayanderovsky district of the Irkutsk region. At an altitude of 3,000 meters the radio contact with it was lost," the source said.
"There were a total of 11 people on board - the crew and fire-fighting experts," the source said.
"The plane was in good condition, it passed all the required pre-flight procedures and it was technically faultless," the source said. According to him, the plane’s next regular maintenance operations were due only in 267 hours.
The Russian Emergencies Ministry’s main department for the Irkutsk region confirmed that an Il-76 plane of the ministry went missing.
Meanwhile, the regional government told TASS that the Il-76 plane was engaged in a forest fire-fighting operation in the Kachugsky district of the Irkutsk region. "Aircraft, including several Yakovlev Yak planes, have been sent to the Kachugsky district search for the missing plane," a government official said.