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article imageRussia’s Sukhoi SuperJet-100 off radar — Crash or hijack? Updated

By Anne Sewell     May 9, 2012 in World
Jakarta - The aircraft was on a demonstration flight in Jakarta when it went off radar screens on Wednesday. Fifty people are on board including eight Russians and 36 foreigners. Rescue operations are underway.
Ria Novosti states that a high-altitude crash or possible hijacking have not been ruled out by officials.
The plane did not return to the airport at the scheduled time. Apparently by that time, its fuel would have been totally spent.
An Indonesian aviation official stated that shortly before going off radar, the crew had asked for permission to descend.
Permitted was granted to descend from an altitude of 10,000 feet down to 6,000 - moving down in a rightward direction.
The official states that there is a 6,200-foot high mountain in the area where the plane has gone missing, about 40 nautical miles from Jakarta airport.
While the plane could have crashed, Indonesian authorities have not yet ruled out the possibility that it was hijacked.
Of the 44 people on the aircraft, eight are Russian nationals and 36 are foreign nationals, mostly representing major airline companies. The crew of the aircraft are Russian.
Later reports stated that no one on board can be reached via telephone.
The Sukhoi SuperJet-100 is on an Asian demonstrative tour including six countries. The plane arrived in Indonesia on May 9, which is the fourth stop on its tour.
Previously the aircraft visited Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. Following Jakarta, the tour was supposed to continue in Laos and Vietnam.
There were two previous half-hour demonstration flights in Jakarta with the first taking representatives from VEB-Leasing and a Russian insurance agency. The second demonstration took potential buyers including representatives of Indonesia's Batavia, Pelita, Air Aviastar and Sriwijaya Air.
Latest update:
Helicopters have been sent out to look for the aircraft with no success.
Second update:
Due to low visibility and fog the helicopters have had to stop their search and return to base. The rescue operation is now restricted to a ground search. The search will continue throughout the night.
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