Search on for missing Russian plane

2012-05-09 15:52
A relative weeps upon inspecting the list of passengers on board a missing Russian airplane at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Tatan Syuflana, AP)

A relative weeps upon inspecting the list of passengers on board a missing Russian airplane at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Tatan Syuflana, AP)

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Jakarta - Search and rescue teams are headed out in search of a Russian-made aircraft carrying 46 people that lost contact with air controllers while flying over mountains during a demonstration flight on Wednesday in western Indonesia, officials said.

Bambang Ervan, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation, said bad weather, however, had forced at least two helicopters to turn back.

The Sukhoi Superjet-100, a civilian aircraft, took off from Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma Airport at 14:00, local time, and was scheduled to return 50 minutes later.

Air controllers lost contact after the crew asked permission to descend from 10 000 feet to 6 000 feet (3 000m to 1 800m) near the Salak mountains in West Java province, said Rear Marshal Daryatmo, chief of the national search and rescue agency.

Several diplomats from the Russian Embassy, potential buyers from several Indonesian airline companies and journalists were among the 38 passengers on board, said Rear Marshal Daryatmo, another search and rescue official.

Russian hopes

There were also eight Russian crew members, he said.

The aircraft, developed by the Russian aerospace company Sukhoi in co-operation with Western partners, is the first completely new airliner designed by Russia since the Soviet collapse.

It was on the fourth stop of a six-nation "Welcome Asia!" road show after having already been to Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. It was supposed to head next to Laos and Vietnam.

Russia has hoped that the short- to mid-range jet, which made its maiden run in 2008, will help it break into international markets dominated by Boeing and Airbus.

- AP
Read more on:    indonesia  |  russia  |  air travel
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