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Thu, Jun 14, 2012

Missing Russian Plane May Have Been Commandeered By Revelers

About A Dozen People Plus A Pilot Were On Board The An-2 In The Urals

Russian officials say they are looking for an An-2 biplane which went missing Monday in the Urals. It is thought that it may have been commandeered by those on board ... described in the Russian media as "drunken revelers" ... who were looking to extend a weekend holiday.

The Moscow Times reports that the airplane belongs to a private company and is normally used to monitor forest fires. It departed from a small airport near Serov, Russia, about 2300 local time without a clearance from air traffic controllers.

The plane was reported missing Tuesday morning after its co-pilot and flight engineer returned from a visit to Serov and found it was no longer at the airport. Three cars were found empty near where the plane had been parked. Police say they believe there is a pilot and 12 passengers on board the airplane. Unnamed sources told Interfax that those seen boarding the plane appeared to have been consuming alcohol.

The pilot has not responded to calls to his cell phone. Interfax reports that Valery Gorelykh, a spokesman for the regional police, said the plane has not been found either crashed or in one piece. Police say that it is possible that the plane was taken by a group continuing the celebration of Russia Day, a three-day holiday in that country. Police speculate that they may have gone on a fishing trip, or to a banya, or sauna, in a neighboring district. (Public domain image from file)

FMI: www.civilavia.ru (Site in Russian)

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