Earlier this week, a Boeing 777 commercial aircraft landed in Caracas, Venezuela. The plane, which belongs to Russia’s Nordwind Airlines, had never made the journey before, and according to local reports, arrived in the troubled nation carrying only its crew. Initial speculation suggested the aircraft may have been carrying Russian mercenaries sent to bolster embattled former Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is no longer seen as the formal leader of the nation by the majority of its people, as well as much of the international community.
Interesting flight. A Boeing 777 of Russian Nordwind Airlines is on its way to Caracas. No pax, but two crews on board. Nordwind does not operate to Venezuela. So this is a special flight. Two crews might indicate aircraft will depart soon after arrival. Aircraft has 277 seats. https://t.co/qRa4gYAWRm
— Marcel van den Berg☁ (@marcelvandenber) January 28, 2019
Soon, however, speculation turned away from what the plane could have brought in to Venezuela and instead toward what it may have been sent to take out. That idea was prompted in no small part by a tweet posted by Venezuelan lawmaker Jose Guerra, who claimed the 777 was sent to Caracas to return with about 20 tons worth of Venezuelan gold–or about 20% of the nation’s entire gold supply. Reports from within the nation indicate that the gold was “set aside for loading” and that the aircraft was parked in a remote area of the airstrip.