Lost Russian Airplane Found

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The burned wreckage of an Antonov An-2 biplane with 13 people on board that crashed last June in Russia was found late Saturday, and officials confirmed that all 13 were found dead at the scene. The airplane had taken off after 11 p.m. from an airport in the Ural mountains, reportedly by "revelers who did not inform air traffic control," according to the Ria Novosti news service. The pilot, according to the BBC, had flown the airplane frequently and took off with a group of friends he'd been drinking with, presumably to visit a fishing spot or a sauna. An extensive search for the missing airplane was called off last November, due to winter conditions, and was expected to resume in the spring. Grouse hunters found the wreckage less than five miles from the airport.

Officials said there is no on-board data to be retrieved from the wreck. Some relatives of the victims have raised questions about why it took so long to find the site and some have advanced conspiracy theories about a cover-up to hide the truth. "I believe the plane was dragged to that place and burned," Anastasia Rogulina, whose sister died in the crash, told The Daily Mail. Another relative said perhaps the airplane had been shot down accidentally during a missile test, and the military wanted to keep it secret. The airplane was hard to find because of the dense forest and marshy conditions, officials said.