Lithuania is holding talks with a Dutch company on salvaging the An-2 plane that crashed in the Baltic Sea on May 16, killing two pilots.
Parodė nuskendusio lėktuvo nuotrauką

The plane's owners might be asked to cover the costs of the salvaging operation, Lithuania's Minister of Transport and Communications Rimantas Sinkevičius said on Monday.

In his words, Lithuanian state enterprise Oro Navigacija (Air Navigation) plans to sign a contract with Dutch engineering company Mammoet on evaluating possibilities of whether the An-2 could be salvaged and how.

"This company has been selected based on information we had and as having a lot of experience in this kind of job. Its list of operations include the salvaging of the Kursk nuclear submarine, which was around 100 meters below the water surface, as well as the salvaging of the Costa Concordia and an F-16 fighter jet which sank after split into pieces," Sinkevičius told journalists on Monday.

In his words, five specialists from the Dutch company would work in the sea. They would inspect the aircraft, its state and other technical circumstances and will scan the plane. And the second stage would be its salvaging. The first stage alone could cost EUR 25,000. According to Sinkevičius, the two parties are now holding negotiations on the contract's terms and conditions and the price.

The key goal is to get the pilots' bodies out, "if they are there," Sinkevičius said. "I believe the key thing here is to get the bodies' out as soon as possible. (…) and all that equipment is not of value for the owner and would in fact be just scrap, if we pulled it out," the minister said.

The An-2 with two highly-experienced pilots aboard went missing on May 16 en rout from Goteborg to Klaipėda. It was found on the bottom of the Baltic Sea last Tuesday, and the body of one of the pilots was spotted inside the plane on Thursday.

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