Russian plane carrying 44 people goes missing near Jakarta

May 9th, 2012 - 7:00 pm ICT by BNO News  

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — A Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft disappeared near a mountain south of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Wednesday while carrying out a demonstration flight, officials said. The fate of the aircraft remains unknown.

The Superjet 100 aircraft had departed Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta at around 2.20 p.m. local time and was expected to return about an hour later. But at around 3.30 p.m. local time, while near Mount Salak in West Java, the aircraft disappeared from radar and all contact was lost.

Emergency officials said the aircraft was carrying 44 passengers and crew members, including eight Russian citizens and 36 passengers from a number of countries. The aircraft is believed to have been carrying crew members, government officials, journalists and customers and stakeholders of the aircraft manufacturer.

A search-and-rescue helicopter was sent to the region to search for the aircraft, and a crisis center has been established in Jakarta.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 was participating in Sukhoi’s “Welcome Asia” roadshow to promote the new aircraft to airlines in a number of Asian countries. It began its tour last Thursday at the International Exhibition KADEX-2012 in Kazakhstan after which it flew to the Pakistani city of Karachi on Saturday. It then continued to Naypyidaw in Myanmar (Burma) on Monday before flying to Jakarta on Wednesday.

Sukhoi previously said the aircraft, which is capable of carrying up to 98 passengers and is already flying for several airlines such as Aeroflot and Armavia, would be piloted during the “Welcome Asia” roadshow by chief test pilot Alexander Yablontsev and his co-pilot Alexander Kochetkov.

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