It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A pilot and his drinking buddies have allegedly stolen an An-2 plane in the Urals to go on a fishing trip. The An-2 was stationed at Serov’s small airport temporarily while its team of three pilots, whose mission was to monitor local forests for fires, had a rest. The airport gladly welcomed the guests – so gladly that the welcome party reportedly turned into a true alcoholic binge. After a while the amount of alcohol drunk got so much that the participants – among them the pilot, the local airfield guard and the head of traffic police – came up with the inventive idea of flying off for a fishing session (obviously, no one was able to walk).
The plane went missing on Monday, leaving a local airfield without bothering to contact air-traffic control. In total, there were no fewer than ten people on board. Three cars and personal belongings, including mobile phones, were left at the airfield.
Between nine and 13 people are said to be on the plane, including the town's chief of traffic police. They took off at 23:00 (17:00 GMT) on Monday night, the Russian news website vesti.ru reports. The plane's co-pilot and mechanic discovered the plane was missing after returning from a visit to the town. Three of the revellers' cars were found at the scene. The plane is not fitted with radio and the pilot's mobile phone has not been answering.
Unconfirmed reports say the party had decided either to go on a fishing trip or to have a steam bath. The pilot, Khatip Kashapov, has more than 20 years' flying experience and is described by his company as "very experienced and disciplined". He and his crew had flown to Serov from the city of Orenburg and had been given a three-day break before starting their forest fire monitoring duties.
According to the lenta.ru news website, the aerodrome outside Serov, a town of nearly 100,000 people, is rarely used and has been "semi-abandoned". The aerodrome was only too happy to see the biplane arriving, said its director, Valentina Soboleva, whose husband Yury Sobolev is among those missing.