Crash site: In this picture released by Indonesian Air Force, the wreckage of a missing Sukhoi Superjet-100 are scattered on the mountainside in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Thursday. The new Russian-made passenger plane disappeared Wednesday during a demonstration flight with 47 people on board. (AP/Indonesian Air Force)The debris of the Russian Sukhoi SuperJet-100, which dropped off radar screens during a demonstration flight on Wednesday, has been found on a cliff of Mt. Salak, say Indonesian Air Force officials.
No word has come yet about the fate of the 48 people on board.
"Rescuers in the helicopters could clearly see the wreckage located at the top of Mt. Salak," which included the aircraft maker’s blue-and-white coloring, said Gagah Prakoso, a spokesman for the Search and Rescue National Agency (Basarnas) as quoted by the news website rt.com.
"There is no sign of any of the passengers," he said, adding that helicopter crews are trying to move closer to the wreckage now.
The scattered debris of the Russian-made plane was spotted on a cliff of Mt. Salak, a volcano in West Java, near its last known location.
Ali Umri Lubis, a spokesman for a military airbase, said the plane was spotted in the Cijeruk area, near Mt. Salak, close to the city of Bogor, West Java. The plane went down at an elevation of about 1,500 meters (5,000 feet).
Three helicopters and over 600 rescuers resumed a search operation around Mt. Salak on Thursday morning, prior to which Indonesian authorities still expressed hope that the plane had made an emergency landing. But the capital's Emergency Agency chief, Ketut Parwa, admitted that if there had been an emergency landing, some information via the radio or phone calls would have been received.
The 45 people onboard included Indonesian businessmen, Russian embassy officials and journalists. Earlier reports suggested the plane took off with 50 people, but five Indonesian men had decided to skip the demonstration flight, including former Indonesian public housing minister Suharso Monoarfa.
Relatives of the missing passengers started streaming into Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in East Jakarta on Wednesday night. The shattering news of the found wreckage reduced many to tears.
Russia's first passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union disappeared from radar screens south of Jakarta on Wednesday, 21 minutes into what was meant to be a brief demonstration flight. The aircraft was taking part in an international air show in Indonesia when it got lost around Mt. Salak at about 3 p.m. local time, descending to 6,000 feet.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a special commission comprising members of the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Industry and the airplane’s manufacturer to investigate the incident. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to head the rescue mission later in the day.