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Plane Disappears in Indonesia With Up to 50 On Board, Crash Suspected

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By Brittney R. Villalva, Christian Post Reporter
May 9, 2012|12:13 pm

A Russian passenger airline has disappeared in Indonesia while on a promotional flight.

A Sukhoi SuperJet 100 from Russia vanished off radar on Tuesday, prompting a search and rescue mission that ended when poor weather conditions forced rescuers back indoors. The new jet was Russia's attempt to revive the nation's aerospace industry, according to Bloomberg.

The plane was scheduled to have a total of 50 people on board, eight crew and 42 passengers, although the airline reported that only 37 of those passengers had arrived for the flight.

"The first demonstration flight in the morning went smoothly," Sunaryo, who uses only one name, told CNN news. "There were no problems."

The plane vanished while 6,200 feet in air. Traffic controllers lost contact with the plane only 21 minutes into the flight.

"Two helicopters were immediately sent out to search for the plane but had to return to their bases due to strong winds and unpredictable weather," CNN confirmed.

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While the air search has been suspended pending more sustainable weather conditions, the ground search has continued. Officials suspect that the plane crashed while flying over Mount Salak, a volcano south of Jakarta.

"It's a setback, but we don't know anything about the causes yet," Richard Aboulafia, vice president of the Teal Group, an aviation forecaster in Fairfax, Virginia told Bloomberg. "Russia's jetliner industry completely lost its competitiveness after the Cold War and shrank to almost nothing."

The plane was on a promotional tour, which was intended to debut a more updated line of planes and boost Russia's reputation in the aviation industry. Figures suggested that five airliner crashes occurred last year in Russia, which resulted in 99 deaths.

"I saw a big plane passing just over my house," Juanda, a villager who lives near the 2,200m mountain told the local station TVOne.

"It was veering a bit to one side, the engine roaring," she said. "It seemed to be heading toward Salak, but I didn't hear an explosion or anything."

 

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