Saturday, June 23, 2018

Search for missing An-2 plane continues on ground

Sverdlovsk Region authorities have turned their hopes to ground search parties in efforts to find an An-2 plane with 13 persons aboard that went missing in the region more than one month ago.

The government said that the use of aircraft has proven inefficient and that the search will only end after ground search parties comb the area surveyed by aircraft, according to Itar-Tass.

"Planes and helicopters have flown over all areas where the plane might be. They have done our best, but air surveying has proved to be inefficient. Now hope only for ground search parties," Sverdlovsk region governor Yevgeny Kuivashev said, according to Itar-Tass. "The search operation will be stopped only after rescuers walk about the entire area surveyed from the air. Now it is hard to say how long it might take. The search operation is complicated because of specifics of local terrain featuring forest-covered mountains with lost of small rivers and bogs."

Professional rescuers, policemen and forest rangers will carry out the search operation. Volunteers will not be allowed to engage in the search.

Mikhail Borodin, the chief of Sverdlovsk region's police department, pledged to continue the search until the plane or its passengers are found. Government search parties will comb areas around Lake Valentorskoye, the Burtym mountain and along the River Tylai towards the settlement of Sosnovka, according to a spokesperson from the regional emergencies administration, Itar-Tass reports.

Search operations involve 326 rescuers, including 260 policemen, rangers, hunters and fisherman, who were chosen because on their familiarity with the area. Seventy vehicles will also be used in the search, which will also continue in neighboring regions.

On the evening of June 11, the plane's pilot took off on a crop-duster An-2 without permission. Twelve passengers were onboard, including the chief of Serov's traffic police, a traffic police officer, an officer of a private bodyguard company, a businessman, a salesman from a telecom shop, and others, according to Itar-Tass.

A criminal case was opened on charges of violations of air traffic safety and aircraft operation rules that resulted in the death through negligence of one or more people, Itar-Tass reports.