Rescuers in Indonesia Locate Wreckage of Russian Jetliner

Posted May 9th, 2012 at 11:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Authorities in Indonesia said Thursday they have found the wreckage of a Russian jetliner that disappeared from radar a day earlier with 50 people on board.

Indonesian air force officials said the crashed Sukhoi Superjet 100 was spotted on the edge of a cliff in a mountainous area south of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Bad weather had hampered the search for the plane, which took off from Jakarta's Halim Airport shortly after 2 p.m. local time Wednesday. It was expected to return in less than an hour. But the plane dropped altitude from 3,000 to 1,800 meters around Mount Salak and lost contact with air traffic control. Mount Salak is 2,200 meters high.

Indonesia's transport ministry said the 100-seat new passenger plane built by Russia in a move to boost its civil aviation industry, was on the second of two demonstration flights when it disappeared in the remote Bogor region. The people on board were all invited guests and included Indonesian airline and aviation executives, eight Russian crew members and five local journalists.

Russia has high hopes for its Superjet, which it believes would become an influential player in the global aviation market.

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 and 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.