New Russian Plane Goes Missing in Indonesia

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Air traffic controllers lost contact with the newest Russian passenger airliner as it made a demonstration flight over western Indonesia on Wednesday. The plane was carrying 44 passengers and its two pilots.

Indonesia’s state-run RIA Novosti news service reports that the plane went missing around 2 p.m. , while making a 30-minute demonstration flight from Jakarta.

The pilots requested permission to descend from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet near the Salak mountains before disappearing from radar screens at 6,200 feet. Radio contact was also lost.

Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Bambang Ervan said that search and rescue teams were heading to the mountainous area where the plane was last reported to be in. However, two helicopters were forced to return due to bad weather.

RIA Novosti reports that the plane had only enough fuel for the 30 minute flight.

The plane was designed by the Russian aerospace firm Sukhoi, though it worked with companies from other countries, including Boeing. The Superjet 100 plane was on a six-nation tour for its debut, having already visited Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. It was supposed to visit Laos and Vietnam after Indonesia.

Eight Russian crew members were among the passengers aboard.

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