IRKUTSK, August 9 (Itar-Tass) —— The search for an Antonov An-12 transport plane, which got missing in the Magadan region on Tuesday, will resume at dawn, a source at the Far Eastern transport investigation department told Itar-Tass.
“The fog and low clouds complicate the search. Besides, the plane got missing in the swampy tundra, far from populated areas,” he said.
“We opened the criminal case because the crew reported technical problems and there were grounds to suspect that the plane might have crashed. So far, neither plane fragments nor people have been found,” the source said.
“Criminal procedures will make it possible to study the plane’s technical documentation, preflight preparations and so on,” he said.
Russian Investigation Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass that the criminal case was opened over the suspected crash.
“The Far Eastern transport investigation department of the Committee has opened a criminal case on the charge of a breach of air safety rules [paragraph 3, article 263 of the RF Criminal Code],” he said.
According to the police, the An-12 transport plane of Avis Amur departed from Magadan for Keperveem in the Chukchi autonomous district. “The pilot told the power that fuel started leaking when the plane was above the Juliet mine in the Omsukchan district of the Magadan region and the engine caught fire. Some time later the plane disappeared from the radar screen,” Markin said.
There is preliminary information that the plane had nine crewmembers and two passengers aboard. The latter were accompanying a cargo of 17.5 tonnes.
“Reports about casualties are premature because no bodies have been found on the crash scene,” he said.
A source at the Far Eastern transport prosecutor’s office said earlier that An-12 fragments had been found 200 kilometers away from Omsukchan, Magadan region, in the area of the Juliet mine. The office said that the crash killed all the eleven people onboard.
The Federal Air Transport Agency denied the reports and said that the search continued.
“Helicopters, planes and ground search parties of the Federal Air Transport Agency are operating within the presumed area of the air crash. No plane has been found so far,” Agency spokesman Sergei Izvolsky told Itar-Tass.
The darkness, low clouds and pouring rain complicate the search, he said.
Another source told Itar-Tass that no fragments had been traced. “The weather is bad and I cannot say when the plane may be found. Aerial monitoring has brought no results. Local residents said they saw a plane coming down, but the precise location is unknown,” he said.
The Interstate Aviation Committee is monitoring information related to the air crash. As soon as reliable information is obtained, the Committee will form an investigative commission.