Indonesian Rescuers Spot Wreckage Of Downed Russian Jet

Rescuers in Indonesia have spotted the wreckage of a Russian Sukhoi aircraft, which went missing early Wednesday.

The aircraft, Russia’s first plane since the fall of the Soviet Union, went missing during a test flight, with up to 50 people on board.

Indonesian rescuers reported seeing signs of the plane’s wreckage in the early morning light Thursday. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a news conference that:

“The airplane crashed at the edge of Salak mountain … An investigation must be done immediately and thoroughly.”

Radio contact with the downed plane was lost around 4:00 a.m. EDT (0800 GMT) on Wednesday, following a 6,000 foot descent near Mount Salak, one of Indonesia’s dormant volcanoes, which stands 7,254 feet above sea level.

Rescuers began searching a heavily wooded area roughly 40 miles south of Jakarta, the country’s capital, and converged on the site of the debris fairly quickly, according to Ketut Parwa, one of the search and rescue officials involved.

Maj. Ali Umri Lubis, of Atang Sanjaya Air base in Bogor also confirmed the find, stating that helicopters first spotted what they believe to be debris from the plane at an elevation of about 1,500 meters, or 5,000 feet, but stated there were no further details at this time.

The Sukhoi Superjet-100 was carrying crew, businessmen, and journalists for a tour in the Russian jet, which Sukhoi had hoped to market towards Indonesia’s growing travel sector. The plane dropped off of the radar a mere 21 minutes after takeoff of its second run around the island country.

The plane is currently in service with Russia’s Aeroflat, as well as Armenian carrier Armavia. They currently have 170 orders for planes worldwide, and plans to produce up to 1,000 of the 68-103 passenger-capacity airplanes.

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