Highlights

  • Mystery over unauthorised flight over multiple European nations
  • Piper PA-23 Aztec violated airspace of many NATO nations amid Russia-Ukraine war
  • Plane found abandoned at an unused Bulgarian airfield with no sign of the crew

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Mystery plane flies over Europe, NATO sends fighters jets to chase; crew vanishes after Bulgaria landing

With NATO members on edge due to the Russia war, fighter jets were deployed to intercept the Aztec plane, but the crew did not respond to any radio or visual signals.

A mysterious plane in an authorised flight over Europe, violating the airspace of multiple NATO countries, and landing at an unused airfield before the crew disappears - amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, this incident has led to alarm in Europe, especially among members of the anti-Russia military alliance NATO.

On June 8, the plane in question took off from an unknown location in Lithuania. It then flew over Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Serbia, and Romania. The plane also made an unauthorised stop in Hungary, apparently for refuelling. Hungarian police were informed but couldn't reach the spot before the plane took-off.

The aircraft was finally found abandoned at an unused airfield in Bulgaria, with the crew nowhere in sight. The plane was identified as a Piper PA-23 Aztec, as per reports.

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There are multiple reasons that the flight worried authorities. The flight was unauthorised and violated airspace of multiple countries during a situation of war. The crew did not respond on radio, and even ignored visuals signals. The plane's transponder was switched off. Transponders are used to identify individual aircraft. The plane in question also flew at low altitudes.

With NATO members on edge due to the Russia war, fighter jets were deployed to intercept the aircraft. Two F-16s of the US Air Force, two Romanian F-16s, and two Hungarian Gripens were reportedly sent after the mysterious plane. However, the aircraft's crew did not respond to any radio messages.

Bulgaria's defence minister said that the plane was not a threat to civilian or military infrastructure in the country. Dragomir Zakov said that the plane flew at low altitudes, making its interception difficult, but the aircraft was monitored at all times.

Not much is known about the Aztec plane. The director of Nida Air Park in Lithuania claimed to have sold the plane recently. Bronius Zaronskis said he didn't remember name of firm which bought it, but three foreigners had come to inspect the plane before the sale. Zaronskis said he didn't know the men's names, but one spoke Russian.

With the plane's crew yet to be caught, it remains to be seen whether this incident was an international conspiracy, or just the antics of some daredevil pilots.

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