reported yesterday on the disappearance of the aircraft near Jakarta, Indonesia, while on an Asian promotional tour.
continued this morning, with the finding of several bodies at the crash site of the plane in the mountainous region near Jakarta. Indonesian officials have tried to access the steep slope on foot and by helicopter, but poor weather conditions and fog have hampered their efforts. 3 helicopters and over 600 rescuers were involved.
A pilot of a military rescue helicopter told journalists, “Due to bad weather I could not drop the team of rescuers and had to return back to base.” However experts did manage to take photos of the crash site, one of which can be viewed here
As the crash site is very remote, bodies will have to be placed in nets and hauled up to the rescue helicopters. Experts have stated that identification of the bodies will take some time as they have been badly damaged in the crash.
Sukhoi Civil Aviation President Vladimir Prisyazhnyuk earlier stated that the rescue teams would hopefully reach the crash site before nightfall.
He said, “The climb to the crash site will take six to eight hours, but since the operation began this morning, they will make it to the spot very soon.”
The National Search and Rescue Agency
confirmed earlier that they had found the wreckage of the aircraft. A spokesman for the agency, Gagah Prokoso, stated, "Rescuers in helicopters could clearly see the wreckage located at the top of Mount Salak."
A spokesman for a nearby military airbase, Ali Umri Lubis stated that the aircraft was spotted in the Cijerk area near Mount Salak and close to the city of Bogor in West Java.
Apparently the aircraft went down at a elevation of around 1,500 meters (5,000 feet).
of the Russia Emergencies Ministry's information department told reporters today that, “Russia’s Emergencies Ministry is ready to send rescue workers, two IL-76 jets and two BK-117 helicopters and rescue equipment to the crash site.”
While initially there were 48 people on the manifest, Prisyazhnyuk stated today that the final numbers of the people on board were reported as 45, including 8 Russians, 1 American, 1 French, 2 Italians and 33 Indonesians. Apparently 3 lucky people did not actually board the aircraft.
Relatives of the dead from the crash started arriving at Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport in Jakarta on Wednesday. They have now, unfortunately, received the bad news of the discovery of the crash site.
The demonstration flight in Indonesia was part of an Asian tour to promote the first post-Soviet civilian jet which is crucial to Russia's hopes of becoming a major player in the modern aviation market.