In what appears to be an unexplained phenomenon, a Russian Sukhoi SuperJet has disappeared from radar around 1:30 AM EST.
The Russian Superjet was in the middle of an Indonesian demonstration flight when the the plane was reported to have lost contact.
Carrying 44 people, the crew included multiple potential buyers as well as a few journalists.
“The plane disappeared from the radar around the Bogor area. We are still looking for it and we are uncertain whether it crashed,” says Gagah Prakoso, spokesman for the national search and rescue agency.
The Jakarta Globe out of Indonesia writes:
The Superjet only made its first commercial flight last year and if a major accident is confirmed it would be the first disaster to involve the aircraft, which is made by legendary Russian planemakers Sukhoi.
The plane is crucial to Russia’s hopes of becoming a major player in the modern aviation market and improving its image in an industry scarred by frequent crashes of aging Soviet-era jets.
Also, according to the Jakarta Post, Vice Marshal Daryatmo, head of the Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency, has informed the media that two helicopters have been deployed to search for the missing aircraft. However, after a short period of time, the search and rescue vessels were forced to return due to severe weather in the area.
“Now we are mobilizing ground teams in coordination with the local police and military units to find the aircraft’s whereabouts,” he tells the Post.
In the event that the Russian Superjet has crashed, this could prove to be a detrimental blow to the aviation hopes of the Russian aviation effort.
The Post writes that the Sukhoi Superjet 100 is a sub-100 seater regional airliner developed by Sukhoi with Western partners including Italian airframe maker Alenia Aeronautica and French engine maker Snecma.