MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) – Investigators have restarted a criminal probe into a light aircraft that went missing in the Urals mountains last year after being hijacked by a party of revelers, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Sunday.
The statement comes hours after the Urals Interior Department reported that the Antonov An-2 biplane that went missing in the summer of 2012 was presumably discovered by two local hunters in hard-to-access terrain.
“The Urals Investigative Department has restarted investigative measures in the criminal case instituted in the wake of the disappearance of the An-2 plane in June 2012,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement.
The An-2 biplane, which was tasked with monitoring wildfires, departed from an airstrip near the town of Serov in Sverdlovsk region on June 11, 2012, without contacting the air control. Investigators previously said the plane had apparently been stolen by the pilot and his drinking buddies for a fishing trip or a visit to the bathhouse.
The search for the missing plane was halted in November 2012 due to bad weather conditions and was expected to resume this spring.
The criminal case was opened on charges of the breach of flight safety rules and aircraft operation that entailed the death of more than two people through carelessness.
The plane with human remains inside it was found on a marshland, eight km (five miles) from the place where it took off, the regional Interior Department said.
Investigators are working at the scene.