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YEKATERINBURG, May 5 (RIA Novosti) – Investigators have found the remains of at least 10 people at the crash site of a light aircraft that went missing in the Urals mountains last year after being hijacked by a party of revelers, the regional Transport Investigation Department said on Sunday.
“At the site of the inspection, skeletonized remains of the bodies of at least 10 people have been found,” the department’s spokeswoman said.
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 plane was found by local hunters on Saturday on a marshland, eight km (five miles) from the place where it took off, the regional Interior Department said.
The search for the missing plane was halted in November 2012 due to bad weather conditions and was expected to be resumed this spring.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Sunday investigators have restarted a criminal probe into the An-2 hijacking and crash.
“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 criminal case was opened on charges of the breach of flight safety rules and the rules of aircraft operation that entailed the death of more than two people through carelessness.