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Indonesian authorities have found the wreckage of a newly-made Russian plane that disappeared on Wednesday while on a demonstration flight.
Wreckage of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 has been spotted at an altitude of 5,800 feet. Around 50 people were on the plane, according to Russian and Indonesian officials, although the exact number remains unclear.
“The search and rescue team cannot reach the area yet because the terrain is very rugged,” said Ali Umri Lubis of Atang Sanjaya Air base in Bogor, a city south of Jakarta near where the plane had been flying.
Indonesian authorities had lost contact with the plane on Wednesday afternoon as it began its descent close to a volcano that is more than 7,000 feet above sea level.
The passengers included Russian embassy officials, journalists, and representatives of Indonesian airlines that had been considering purchasing the jet.
Sukhoi had received orders for 170 of the planes and had been in the midst of a six-country tour of Asia in search of more buyers. Indonesia had put in orders for 42 planes as of last year. Buyers in Laos, where the aircraft was due to travel next for a demo flight, had also put in orders.
Indonesia’s air industry has been booming as growing wealth and poor infrastructure connecting the archipelago has driven up demand for domestic air travel. Indonesia’s Lion Air last November ordered 230 narrow-body jets, worth $21.7bn at list prices, from Boeing.
In launching the Superjet, Russia was aiming to develop the country’s civilian aviation industry, which has long been uncompetitive against Boeing and Airbus, and those including Bombardier that make smaller planes. But development of the Superjet had been shaky, and it was grounded on its first flight last June because of a safety flaw.
Additional reporting by Taufan Hidayat in Jakarta