Bodies recovered at Russian jet crash in Indonesia

May 11 2012 - 10:04am

Images

The logo of Sukhoi Co. is clearly visible, center, among the wreckage of a Sukhoi Superjet-100 scattered on the mountainside in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. The crash of the new, Russian-made jetliner into a jagged Indonesian volcano during a flight to impress potential buyers has thrown doubt on dozens of plane sales just as Moscow seeks a comeback in foreign markets. All 45 people aboard were feared dead. (AP Photo)
In this photo released by Indonesian Air Force, the wreckage of a missing Sukhoi Superjet-100 are scattered on the mountainside in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Thursday, May 10, 2012. The new Russian-made passenger plane disappeared Wednesday during a demonstration flight with 47 people on board. (AP Photo/Indonesian Air Force)
Indonesian police stop for a moment as they head to the site of a plane crash on Mount Salak, in Cijeruk, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Thursday, May 10, 2012. Rescuers discovered the shattered wreckage of a new Russian-made passenger plane Thursday that smashed into the side of the Indonesian volcano during a flight to impress potential buyers. All on board were feared dead. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Rescue team carry boxes from a helicopter at Pasir Pogor in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. Rescue teams used climbing gear to scale the nearly sheer slopes of a dormant Indonesian volcano, hoping Friday to reach the wreckage of a Russian-made jetliner Sukhoi Superjet-100 that crashed with 45 people onboard during a display flight for potential buyers. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Relatives of the passengers of the crashed Sukhoi Superjet-100 watch the news on a television at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. Search teams found at least 12 bodies Friday on the steep slope of an Indonesian volcano where the Russian-made jetliner crashed while demonstrating the plane for potential buyers from airlines, an official said. All 45 aboard the plane are feared dead. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
The logo of Sukhoi Co. is clearly visible, center, among the wreckage of a Sukhoi Superjet-100 scattered on the mountainside in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. The crash of the new, Russian-made jetliner into a jagged Indonesian volcano during a flight to impress potential buyers has thrown doubt on dozens of plane sales just as Moscow seeks a comeback in foreign markets. All 45 people aboard were feared dead. (AP Photo)
In this photo released by Indonesian Air Force, the wreckage of a missing Sukhoi Superjet-100 are scattered on the mountainside in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Thursday, May 10, 2012. The new Russian-made passenger plane disappeared Wednesday during a demonstration flight with 47 people on board. (AP Photo/Indonesian Air Force)
Indonesian police stop for a moment as they head to the site of a plane crash on Mount Salak, in Cijeruk, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Thursday, May 10, 2012. Rescuers discovered the shattered wreckage of a new Russian-made passenger plane Thursday that smashed into the side of the Indonesian volcano during a flight to impress potential buyers. All on board were feared dead. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Rescue team carry boxes from a helicopter at Pasir Pogor in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. Rescue teams used climbing gear to scale the nearly sheer slopes of a dormant Indonesian volcano, hoping Friday to reach the wreckage of a Russian-made jetliner Sukhoi Superjet-100 that crashed with 45 people onboard during a display flight for potential buyers. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Relatives of the passengers of the crashed Sukhoi Superjet-100 watch the news on a television at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. Search teams found at least 12 bodies Friday on the steep slope of an Indonesian volcano where the Russian-made jetliner crashed while demonstrating the plane for potential buyers from airlines, an official said. All 45 aboard the plane are feared dead. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

MOUNT SALAK, Indonesia -- Search teams who scaled a volcano's steep slopes found at least 12 bodies Friday near the wreckage of a Russian-made jetliner that crashed in Indonesia during a demonstration flight for potential buyers, an official said.

All 45 aboard the Sukhoi Superjet-100 that crashed Wednesday are feared dead.

"Today we have discovered 12 victims, all dead," Rear Marshal Daryatmo, head of the national search and rescue agency, told reporters Friday.

Many of the bodies found Friday had been torn apart in the crash, said Lt. Col. Oni Juniato of the Indonesian marines, whose search team found eight corpses before returning to base camp further down the mountain.

"We see many other victims ... but the ravines and steep cliffs prevent us from reaching them," Junianto said in a statement.

Local television showed what appeared to be the plane's tail with the blue-and-white Sukhoi logo, part of a wing and bits of twisted metal scattered along the slope like confetti.

About 85 soldiers, police and volunteers used ropes to climb up to the wreckage through jungle on the near-vertical slopes of Mount Salak, search and rescue agency spokesman Gagah Prakoso said by telephone.

Thick fog and the mountain's jagged slopes kept helicopters from landing at the crash site, so the bodies remained there along with the search teams.

The soldiers, police and volunteers fashioned a landing area by hacking down trees, but Prakoso said the helicopters were recalled to Jakarta late Friday because the fog limited visibility to only about 5 meters (15 feet).

The jetliner slammed into the dormant volcano at nearly 800 kph (480 mph) during drizzle. Russian and French investigators have joined the investigation into the cause.

The Superjet-100 is Russia's first new model of passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago and was intended to help resurrect its aerospace industry.

The ill-fated Superjet was carrying representatives from local airlines and journalists on what was supposed to be a 50-minute demonstration flight. Just 21 minutes after takeoff from a Jakarta airfield, the Russian pilot and co-pilot asked for permission to drop from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet (3,000 meters to 1,800 meters). They gave no explanation, disappearing from the radar immediately afterward.

It was not clear why the crew asked to shift course, especially since they were so close to the 7,000-foot (2,200-meter) volcano, or whether they got an OK, officials have said.

Communication tapes will be reviewed as part of the investigation, but it's unlikely they will be released to the public any time soon.

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Associated Press writers Ali Kotarumalos and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta contributed to this report.

 

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