The Jakarta Globe & AFP
A Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft on a demonstration flight with 46 passengers aboard went missing around Mount Salak in Bogor, West Java, on Wednesday, a search and rescue official said.
“The plane disappeared from the radar around the Bogor area. We are still looking for it and we are uncertain whether it crashed,” National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) spokesman Gagah Prakoso told AFP on Wednesday.
The plane took off from East Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusumah Airport, which is used for some commercial and military flights, in East Jakarta at 2.20 p.m. It was expected to return in less than an hour, but it lost contact at around 3.30 p.m.
The plane, Gagah added, manufactured by Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, was flying at the altitude of 10,000 feet when suddenly it dropped to the altitude of 6,000 feet and lost contacts with earth.
Herry Bakti, head of the transport ministry’s aviation division, said the aircraft was on the second of two demonstration flights, and those on board were invited guests.
The Russian Embassy had said in a statement earlier this week that a Sukhoi Superjet 100 demonstration would take place in Jakarta on Wednesday. The embassy could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Sukhoi Superjet, a mid-range airliner that carries up to 100 people, has been presented as Russia’s contender to compete in the international civil aviation industry.
After its maiden flight in 2008 deliveries were delayed several times, but the planes are already in use with Russia’s largest carrier Aeroflot and have been ordered by smaller airlines in Russia and abroad.
It claims to offer lower operating costs than rival aircraft made by Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier.