Superjet Wreckage Found

 - May 10, 2012, 9:57 AM
Sukhoi Superjet MSN95004 had flown 800 hours since it took to the air for the first time in July 2009.

Search-and-rescue crews on Thursday morning found the wreckage of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 that went missing a day earlier over mountainous terrain south of Jakarta, Indonesia. The airplane, MSN 95004, had departed Jakarta’s Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport at 2 p.m. local time Wednesday on a demonstration flight for Asian airline executives and local reporters. Officials haven’t released a passenger manifest, and reports of the total occupancy count have ranged from 44 to 50. Search crews have reportedly found several bodies.

A helicopter spotted the shattered remains of the airplane strewn down a cliff near Indonesia’s Mount Salak, some 60 miles south of Jakarta.

Some 20 minutes into the planned 50-minute flight, the crew asked ATC for permission to descend from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet. Soon afterwards controllers lost radio contact.

The aircraft’s arrival in Indonesia marked the fourth stop in a six-country Asian demonstration tour. It had already visited Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Myanmar and schedules called for it to go to Laos and Vietnam over the next few days.

In a written statement, Superjet International, the Venice, Italy-based Western sales and support entity for the SSJ100, confirmed that the airplane had gone on an earlier demonstration flight on Wednesday without any technical problems.