AT 60ft long it’s hard to imagine it would be easy to hide a vintage Soviet troop-transport plane.
At least, that is the hope of a couple who have asked the gardaí to investigate its disappearance from their land in West Cork.
The Antonov 2 biplane is believed to have been taken in the past few days from Les and Deirdre Carter’s land at Ards in the Mealagh Valley near Bantry.
The couple, who live in north Queensland, Australia, were notified of the plane’s disappearance by a friend and immediately contacted the gardaí.
Thousands of this type of plane were manu-factured in the former Soviet Union between 1947 and 1991.
The Carters got the biplane as a present from a friend in 2006.
After putting it in storage for a while they decided to remove its wings and transport the fuselage to Bantry, where they had been working on converting the biplane into a holiday home.
Les, who works as a truck driver, had already put windows into the fuselage and was refurbishing the interior.
Speaking from her home in Australia last night, Deirdre, a nurse who was born in Ireland, said whoever had taken the old aircraft must have put a lot of effort into it.
“When we moved it from Cork Airport to Bantry we had to engage low loaders and a lot of workmen, all at considerable expense,” she explained.
“Whoever took it had to have done a lot of organising. It is a very big structure.”
She said it had always been the couple’s intention to return to Ireland and finish the refurbishment.
“I can’t imagine why anybody would want to take it and we’re hoping that people will assist us with its return,” said Deirdre.
A Garda spokesman in Bantry confirmed that they had received a complaint from the couple and are in the process of investigating it.
“Whoever did this would probably have had to have used a crane and a big truck to take it away,” the spokesman said.
lAnybody with information on the former plane’s whereabouts is asked to contact Bantry Garda Station at 027-20860.
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