Thursday, November 23, 2017

Plane goes missing in central Russia with 13 passengers

A small plane that took off from an airfield near the Sverdlovsk city of Serov went missing in central Russia early on Tuesday.

The plane was carrying 13 people, none of whom have answered their mobile phones since the plane went missing. Valery Gorelykh, a spokesman for the regional interior ministry, said that the Antonov An-2 plane was declared missing at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Interfax reports.

"In addition to the pilot, the airplane is carrying 12 people," Gorelykh said, according to Interfax. "So far, they have not been found either dead or alive."

The plane took off on Monday at 11 p.m. without receiving permission from air traffic controllers. The plane belonged to the Chelyabinsk-based carrier Avia Zov and was carrying the local traffic police chief, Dmitry Ushakov. Other police officials may also have been on board.

Eyewitnesses have speculated that relatives of local police may also have been on board.

Seventy-three Sverdlovsk police officers, two aircraft, a helicopter, seven personnel with the Emergency Situations Ministry and local transportation prosecutors have been added to a search party, the Moscow Times reports.

The flight engineer and co-pilot found the plane missing on Tuesday morning after returning from a visit to Serov. Three abandoned cars were found near where the plane was parked before the flight. Police do not yet know why the plane took off.