VILNIUS – Lithuania's police are looking into the circumstances surrounding a mysterious flight from Lithuania over several Eastern European countries.
Speaking with BNS, Ramunas Matonis, spokesman for Lithuania's Police Department, said a pre-trial investigation has not been launched yet but "officers are currently looking into the circumstances".
On Thursday night, Bulgaria said a two-seater plane took off from Lithuania without permission and flew over several Eastern European countries, attracting air force attention before being abandoned in Bulgaria by an unknown crew.
The country's interior minister, Boyko Rashkov, told reporters the aircraft had entered the airspace of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and finally Bulgaria without permission.
The Bulgarian authorities say the twin-engine Beechcraft with two people on board did not have an approved flight plan and its transponders were switched off. The pilot failed to respond to radio requests and visual signals.
The plane was escorted by fighter jets in Hungary and Romania before it entered Bulgaria's airspace. The latter country's Air Force did not immediately scramble fighter jets because "the aircraft was not considered a threat at any time".
Oro Navigacija (Air Navigation), Lithuania's state-owned navigation services provider, told BNS it had not received flight plans for the plane in the last 90 days. "The crew of this aircraft has not been in contact with our flight information service operators," the enterprise said.
Alvydas Sumskas, director of the Civil Aviation Department at the Transport Competence Agency, told BNS he could hardly provide any comment on the situation due to a lack of available information.
In his words, within Lithuania, "one doesn’t need to submit a flight plan in the non-regulated airspace". Moreover, he said, when flying low, radars may not detect the plane.
"But not for international flights. (…) For an international flight, a flight plan is required. In this case, it was clearly an international flight", Sumskas said. "I cannot answer the questions today as to who flew and how they flew."