Report: Helicopters spot wreckage of missing Superjet 100 plane in Indonesia

Other News Materials 10 May 2012 08:25 (UTC +04:00)

Rescuers on Thursday located the wreckage of a Sukhoi Superjet 100 plane that went missing in Indonesia with up to 50 people on board, an official said.

The wreck was spotted from a helicopter flying over a mountain range in the Bogor district south of Jakarta, said Vice Air Marshal Daryatmo, the head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, dpa reported.

Earlier, a local Air Force spokesman, Major Ali Umri Lubis, told local television that the plane was "physically visible but the condition of the plane was not known."

The aircraft, which was in Indonesia as part of a demonstration tour for potential buyers in six Asian countries, disappeared from radar Wednesday, 20 minutes after taking off from the Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta.

Officials said the crew had asked for permission to descend from 10,000 feet, or 3,000 metres, to 6,000 feet (1,800 metres) before the aircraft disappeared from radar in the area of the Salak mountain range in Bogor.

Hundreds of rescuers, including police and soldiers, were involved in the search around Mount Salak, a 2,200-metre volcano. It had been temporarily suspended Wednesday night because of dense clouds and strong winds.

Representatives of local airlines and aviation companies as well as several journalists were on board, officials said.

PT Trimarga, which represents Sukhoi in Indonesia, said late Wednesday that 50 people, including its eight-member Russian crew, were on the plane.

An early manifest obtained by the media showed there were 36 passengers, mostly Indonesians.

The Superjet 100 is the newest major aircraft produced by Russia's aerospace industry and the country's main hope of breaking into the lucrative international passenger plane market. It is designed to carry 75 to 95 passengers on intermediate-range routes.

Distraught relatives of passengers gathered at a rescue operation post at the Halim airport.

Izmirta Rahman, whose brother was a passenger, criticized the organizers of the flight for the uncertainty about the number of people on board.

"This clearly shows they are not professional," he was quoted as saying by the Detik.com news website.