Thursday, July 31, 2014


Russia

Rescuers Find Bodies But No Survivors At Site Of Russian Plane Crash

A view of the wreckage of the Russian Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft on Mount Salak in West Java Province
A view of the wreckage of the Russian Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft on Mount Salak in West Java Province
By RFE/RL
Rescuers in Indonesia say there are no survivors from the crash of a Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet 100 that went down with around 50 people on board.

Gagah Prakoso, an Indonesian search and rescue agency official, said that bodies had been found at the crash site on a mountain in western Indonesia.

He added that evacuation of the bodies by helicopter was being hampered by bad weather.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

Russia's Investigative Committee has announced it is opening a criminal investigation into the preparation of the aircraft and the crew before the plane left Russia on its Asian tour.

The committee said it may send investigators to Indonesia to question members of the ground crew that serviced the plane in Jakarta.

There were eight Russian crew members and as many as 42 guests on board the Sukhoi Superjet 100 -- including potential buyers, diplomats, and journalists. At least 36 of the passengers were Indonesians, and there were reportedly some Russian Embassy staffers on board, as well.

Developed in 2008 by Sukhoi's civil aircraft division, the jet was on a demonstration tour of Asia and already had made stops in Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Myanmar.

The plane had been flying for just 21 minutes from Jakarta when it crashed.

  • The Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger plane at Jakarta-Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport in a May 9 photo.
  • A handout photo of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 that crashed as it took off for a demonstration flight on May 9 from Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma Airport.
  • A view of the Sukhoi aircraft's wreckage on Mount Salak, in the West Java province of Indonesia, on May 10.
  • Relatives of a passenger of the missing Sukhoi aircraft grieve as the ill-fated plane's passenger list is checked at Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport in Jakarta.
  • The plane's manufacturer, Sukhoi, is trying to enter the commercial aircraft market after years making military jets like the Su-35 and T-50 in this shot from a 2011 test flight.
  • An Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 like the one that crashed is seen landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on March 28.
  • Soldiers and members of a search-and-rescue team rushed to the crash site in hopes that some of the 50 or so passengers and crew survived.

Reports say the pilots had changed course and asked permission to decrease altitude to 1,800 meters just before the plane dropped off the radar. But the pilots are not said to have transmitted any signs of distress.

Investigators are reviewing tapes of conversations between the pilots and air-traffic controllers.

The 100-passenger Superjet 100 is a key part of Russia's effort to revive its civil-aviation sector. It made its debut in 2008 and began flying commercially in 2011. There are currently eight Superjet 100s in service.

Sukhoi reportedly has orders for up to 170 more Superjets and hopes to produce as many as 1,000. Last August, Indonesia's Sky Aviation agreed to purchase 12 of the planes.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax
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