Russian plane disappears on demo flight

May 9, 2012 at 7:59 AM

JAKARTA, May 9 (UPI) -- A Russian airplane on a demonstration flight in Jakarta, Indonesia, disappeared from radar Wednesday, Indonesian aviation officials said.

Indonesian authorities suggested the airplane could have been hijacked or crashed into a mountain because of poor visibility, RIA Novosti said.

Forty-four people, including eight Russians and 36 foreign nationals, were on board the Sukhoi Superjet 100 plane when it failed to return to the airport after the demonstration flight, officials said.

Air traffic controllers said the pilots requested permission to descend from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet shortly before radio contact was lost. After it was cleared, the plane began turning right and descending, then disappeared from the radar at 6,200 feet in a mountainous area about 40 nautical miles from the Jakarta airport, controllers said.

The airplane was in Jakarta as part of a demonstration tour of six Asian countries, RIA Novosti said.

The Superjet 100 is a medium-haul passenger plane manufactured by Sukhoi in cooperation with U.S. and European aviation corporations, officials said. It can carry 100 passengers for about 2,800 miles. Russian officials said in February 10 SSJ-100 airplanes would be exported in 2012.

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