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Emergencies minister orders expansion of search area at An-148 crash site outside Moscow

The search area has been widened to 50 hectares

MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov has ordered to expand the search area at the crash site of the Antonov An-148 passenger plane in the Moscow Region.

"We are widening the search area to 50 hectares. Use advanced technologies, including unmanned aerial vehicles, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and everything we are equipped with, as well as soil search and monitoring devices, everything that is under the snow and below the ground," he said during a conference call, addressing head of the ministry’s Main Directorate in the Moscow Region, Sergey Poletykin.

According to Puchkov, the emergency situation mode is still in place. "I once again call on all federal agencies, the heads of the Russian territorial entities, the emergency response commission to focus on promptly tackling all emerging issues of concern," he said.

Poletykin reported to the minister that a group of more than 1,000 people and almost 200 pieces of equipment was operating in the emergency zone. "There is no need to reinforce the group. There are enough forces and equipment," he emphasized.

According to Poletykin, 45 hectares of land have been combed through to date, with 2,000 plane fragments found. Some of them have been delivered to the Gromov Flight Research Institute located in the Moscow Region for further examination by the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC). "All fragments are to be delivered to the Gromov Flight Research Institute today," he noted.