“An object floating in the sea was discovered, a helicopter has been dispatched and we are awaiting information, whether it is connected with the accident. I cannot specify the object,” Valys said at a meeting of the parliamentary National Security and Defence Committee on Wednesday.
The coordination of the search for the missing airplane is high on the agenda of the meeting.
“Right now an air force helicopter MI-8 has been sent to the site. We’re looking into what exactly has been discovered. The object was spotted yesterday by a border guard helicopter. The object was not checked last night, because the border guard service does not have the equipment for that. Whereas our helicopter does, it will descend near the water, if possible, to inspect the object,” said Lieutenant Colonel Raimondas Matulaitis, chief of the United Situations Department, on Wednesday morning.
Asked why the MI-8 helicopter had not started the operation Tuesday night, Matulaitis said chiefs of the search operation had not deemed it necessary.
The operation is currently run by the Sea Rescue Coordination Centre.
Matulaitis has added that, if there is a need, American aircraft Hercules C130, which is in the Baltics for a military exercise, might be asked to join the search effort.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Lithuanian-owned An-2 was discovered on the bottom of the Baltic Sea some 124m underwater more than 116km from the coast between the Latvian and Lithuanian resort towns of Liepaja and Palanga, in the Latvian exclusive economic zone. Examination of the debris with a submarine robotic camera did not reveal the pilots inside the aircraft, therefore, the search continues.
The Lithuanian plane with two pilots onboard went missing on Saturday afternoon. A search operation involving the Lithuanian Navy and air force has been looking for it since Sunday.
Critics maintain that relevant institutions failed to use all possible resources in the search for the missing airplane.