SuperJet 100 Wreckage Found

Crash site located near the top of Mount Salak.

The wreckage of a Sukhoi SuperJet 100 that disappeared yesterday during a demonstration flight in Indonesia has been found in a remote mountainous region south of the capital city of Jakarta, authorities said Thursday.

According to a Reuters report, the crash site was located by a search and rescue helicopter that identified debris on the side of Mount Salak, a 7,254-foot-tall dormant volcano. Images from the site show a large gash near the top of the volcano, surrounded by areas of stripped vegetation.

Search and rescue teams scouring the wreckage have reportedly found bodies, but no signs of survivors.

The SuperJet 100 was conducting what was supposed to be a 50-minute demonstration flight on Wednesday when radio contact was lost approximately 20 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Airport.

The aircraft had reportedly requested permission to descend from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet shortly before the crash, although the reasoning behind that request and ATC’s exact response to it are not yet known.

Alexander Yablontsev, the chief civil test pilot at Sukhoi who flew the SuperJet on its maiden flight in 2008, and copilot Alexander Kochetkov were at the controls.

While official reports of the number of individuals on board the flight has fluctuated since yesterday, the latest count stands at 45, most of whom were journalists and potential buyers of the Sukhoi SuperJet. The fly-by-wire airplane was making a six-nation tour of Asia in an attempt to garner orders for the jet, the first new airliner to emerge from Russia in decades.

The aircraft – poised to compete with industry giants Bombardier and Embraer in the 75- to 95-seat category – has so far acquired 170 global orders on its books, a positive start now placed at risk by the crash.