Indonesian Authorities Search for Missing Russian Plane

Posted May 9th, 2012 at 10:00 am (UTC-5)
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Indonesia has deployed search and rescue teams to a mountainous area near Jakarta, in search of a Russian jetliner that disappeared from radar Wednesday with 46 people on board.

The Jakarta Post quotes authorities as saying ground teams, including military units, were headed from the capital to remote Mount Salak, after search helicopters encountered bad weather and were forced to return to base.

Authorities say the Sukhoi Superjet 100 vanished while on a demonstration flight shortly after 2 p.m. local time. All passengers were described as invited guests.

Indonesia's transport ministry said the 100-seat, mid-range jetliner was on the second of two demonstration flights when it disappeared in the remote Bogor region.

Russia's Ria Novosti new agency quotes air traffic controllers as saying pilots had requested permission to descend from 3,000 to 1,800 meters shortly before radio contact was lost.

The Itar-Tass news agency said the newly-minted plane recently performed demonstrations in Central and South Asia, including flights in Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Burma. It also said the Superjet 100 had logged about 6,500 hours of flight time since its 2008 maiden launch.

The jetliner is currently in use with Russia's largest carrier, Aeroflot, and the Armenian carrier, Armavia.