MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. All gold bars that fell out of an Antonov-12 plane when the aircraft was leaving Yakutsk airport have been collected. The precious metal cargo the plane was carrying had been insured, the head of the Moscow office of Canada’s Kinross Gold company, Stanislav Borodyuk, told TASS on Friday.
"All gold bars have been collected by now. Not a single one was lost. The cargo had been insured and the insurance broker was notified of the incident. The cargo is in Yakutsk under protection," Borodyuk said.
The Antonov-12 plane was en route from the Kupol mine (the Chukot Autonomous Area - TASS) to Krasnoyarsk. In Yakutsk, it made a stopover for refueling. It was carrying a cargo of gold-silver alloy bars belonging to the Chukot Mining and Geological Company (an affiliate of the Kinross Group - TASS). They had been delivered to Krasnoyarsk for refining. When the plane was leaving Yakutsk airport, part of the cargo was lost in flight.
"The plane managed to make a safe landing. On board there were seven crews and two passengers - two employees of our company who were accompanying the cargo. Nobody was hurt," the company’s spokesman said.
Borodyuk added that the company kept in touch with the authorities concerned and Yakutsk airport services.
"When the probe is over, measures will be taken to further coordinate corporate requirements the transportation of the company’s cargoes is expected to meet," he said.
In the meantime, Yakutsk residents have continued to search the field near the local airport where about 3,400 tonnes of gold bars fell out from the plane on Thursday, March 15.
Although the law enforcement agencies have said the cargo has been collected, rumors in the social networks and uploaded photos of gold bars allegedly picked in the area keep fueling local people’s hope to find valuables. According to witnesses, the plane’s door, lost during the plane’s climb fell on a field next to the airport.
"This is not the right place to look for gold. Go and search a little bit farther away," a local women whose home is near the field told a TASS reporter. "The area was cordoned off yesterday. I saw it myself. The search was underway across the field. Looks like they found something," she said, pointing to the farther end of the snowy field, still being examined by several dozen people.
A young couple was exploring the field with a metal detector.
"It looks like all gold was picked yesterday," they said and, after a brief break, went ahead with the search.
Earlier on Friday police in Yakutsk dismissed local media reports a local woman had found a gold bar near her home.
On Thursday, March 15, an Antonov-12 plane lost a door of the cargo compartment shortly after taking off from the runway at Yakutsk airport. Part of the cargo of the precious metal was scattered along the runway. Reportedly the plane had more than nine tonnes of gold on board. A source told TASS a total of 172 gold bars having a total mass of about 3,400 tonnes had been picked.