VILNIUS – Lithuania’s police have on Thursday opened a pre-trial investigation into last week’s mysterious flight from Lithuania over several Eastern European countries, Saulius Briginas, deputy chief of Criminal Police Bureau, confirmed to BNS.
“A pre-trial investigation into a violation of international rules of the air has been opened at the Criminal Police Bureau,” the officer said.
According to Briginas, the investigation will be led by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
“Officers suspect a violation of international rules of the air, which require a flight plan for international flights,” he said.
“Also, the plane did not have a flight authorization at all whereas each plane needs an authorization to conduct flights. Hence it could not operate flights even in Lithuania, let alone international flights,” Briginas added.
Bulgaria reported last Thursday that 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, then told reporters the aircraft had entered the airspace of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and finally Bulgaria without permission.
According to the Bulgarian authorities, 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 incident has triggered calls in Lithuania for narrowing non-regulated airspace. The Transport Ministry has said that it would consult experts before making any decisions.