A MYSTERIOUS plane that buzzed six NATO countries before being abandoned was sold a Russian speaking man the week before the bizarre flight.
The suspicious six-seater was spotted by the Hungarian and Romanian Air Forces flying through their airspace and over Poland, Slovakia and Serbia before landing in Bulgaria.
Fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the low-flying and slow moving plane as it sparked chaos.
And it has now emerged the aircraft was sold just one week before the mystery flight to a "Russian-speaking man".
Bronius Zaromskis, the director of Nida Airfield in Lithuania, revealed he sold it to the unidentified man, reports LRT.
Three men came to arrive to inspect the plane – with one of them speaking Russian.
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"I cannot guess which country they were from. They might be Ukrainians, maybe Romanians or Bulgarians," he said.
"I was speaking to one of them in the Russian language. But I don’t know the names of any of these men."
And the Russian connection further deepens the mystery around the plane, especially with tensions in Eastern Europe over the war in Ukraine.
Mr Zaromskis added: “I’ve been trying to sell that plane for years, I had nowhere to store it, so I’m glad somebody bought it."
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The plane – which has now been identified as a Piper PA-23–250-Aztec twin-engined light aircraft – was ditched in Bulgaria.
It is believed to have taken off from Lithuania and landed in an abandoned airfield in Targovishte, according to media outlet Euractiv.
The aircraft was originally misidentified as a Beechcraft, and is believed to have been sold for around 30,000 Euros (£25,000)
Flying across Lithuania, it never flew over Poland and Slovakia before stopped to refuel in Hungary and then continuing on over Romania, Serbia and ending up in Bulgaria.
Every one of those countries bar Serbia is a NATO member.
Air traffic monitoring firm Oro Navigsaid it does not have any data related to the flight – despite it taking off from Lithuania.
The plane also did not take off from any of the main airports, Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga – and is believed to have left via a minor airstrip.
Hungarian media report that when the aircraft landed to refuel at Hajdúszoboszló Airport it did so without permission.
The pilot is then reported to have threatened an airport worker, who then called the police.
Cops arrived and the aircraft took off a "full throttle" violating flight rules, reports Rtl.hu.
Fighter jets including USAF F-16s, two Romanian F-16s and two Hungarian Gripens were scrambled and tracked the 60-year-old plane's journey after it failed to respond to radio transmissions.
Bulgarian authorities have launched an investigation into what happened after the pilot and crew vanished after landing at Targovishte Airport, leaving the plane's engine still warm, according to reports.
Bulgarian Ministry of Defence official Dragomir Zakov said the aircraft entered his country’s airspace in the evening of June 8.
He is reported to have said: "At no time was the plane a threat to civilian or military infrastructure in Bulgaria.
"It flew at low altitudes, which made difficult the interception for fighter jets, but it was monitored all the time.
"The Ministry of Defense is taking the appropriate actions to establish the circumstances."
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