Jet crash bodies sent for identification

2012-05-12 14:22

Cijeruk - Body bags containing the remains of people aboard a Russian jet that smashed into an Indonesian mountain arrived in Jakarta on Saturday as Russian investigators landed to join the probe.

Rescuers said the bodies of those who perished when Sukhoi's new Superjet 100 hit Mount Salak in western Java on Wednesday, killing all on board, were badly dismembered.

Officials said the remains of the victims found so far had been placed in 16 body bags. Two had already arrived at a Jakarta hospital for identification with four more on the way.

"This morning we have 16 body bags. On Friday, there were 12, and four more were filled today (Saturday). No body was found in its whole form," West Java provincial military chief Sonny Widjaja said.

Each bag could contain the remains of more than one victim, he said. Officials said on Friday that 12 bodies had been found.

A woman at Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma military airport, where the doomed flight took off, fainted as she watched men unload the first two body bags from a helicopter.

The remains were taken by road to the Kramat Jati Police Hospital in east Jakarta for DNA identification.

Relatives, told to wait at the hospital, wailed as they watched the bags arrive before being taken to the forensics division.

As questions swirl over why the plane crashed, Russian investigators and medics flew into Halim airport to investigate what caused the disaster and assist with the recovery of bodies.

The plane also brought two helicopters to assist with the operation, an embassy official said.

Eight Russians were onboard the flight out of a total of at least 45 passengers and crew.

A Russian fact-finding committee said on Thursday it had opened a probe as there were indications that safety standards were violated.

During its demonstration flight the passenger aircraft descended from 10 000 feet to 6 000 feet before slamming into Mount Salak.

The cause of the crash is still unknown and is under investigation by both Indonesian and Russian officials. The search for flight data recorders continues.

All aboard the aircraft were killed, authorities confirmed on Thursday, a day after the plane disappeared from radar screens in mountainous terrain just 80km south of Jakarta.

The company representing Sukhoi in Indonesia, Trimarga Rekatama, originally said 50 passengers were on board but revised the number down to 45. Local rescue officials said the plane was carrying 46 people.

Wednesday's calamity came 50 minutes into a brief flight that was part of an Asian sales tour to promote the aircraft, a joint venture between Sukhoi and Italy's Alenia Aeronautica, which made its first commercial flight last year.

- SAPA
Read more on:    indonesia  |  air travel
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