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Jet disappears from radar near mountain in Indonesia

Sergey Dolya/ AFP - Getty Images

The missing Sukhoi Superjet-100 takes off for a demonstration flight from Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma airport on Wednesday. The aircraft was on the fourth stop of a six-nation "Welcome Asia!" roadshow after having already been to Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

Updated at 9:56 a.m. ET: A Russian-made airliner carrying 46 people lost contact with air traffic controllers during a demonstration flight in Indonesia Wednesday, officials said.

The Indonesian military said the Sukhoi Superjet-100 "fell" from the sky, Reuters reported. Several diplomats from the Russian Embassy, potential buyers from several Indonesian airlines and journalists were among the 38 passengers on board, according to Rear Marshal Daryatmo, a search and rescue official who only uses one name. There were also eight Russian crew members, he added.   


The flight took off from Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma Airport at about 2 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) and disappeared from radar near the 7,200-foot Mount Salak in West Java, national search agency spokesman Gagah Prakoso told The Associated Press. It had been scheduled to return 50 minutes later.

Citing an official, Reuters reported that radio contact was lost with the plane after it descended from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet.

"I saw a big plane passing just over my house," said Juanda, a villager who lives near Mount Salak told local station TVOne. "It was veering a bit to one side, the engine roaring. It seemed to be heading toward Salak, but I didn't hear an explosion or anything."

Olga Kayukova, a spokeswoman for Russia's United Aircraft Corporation, told Reuters the Sukhoi Superjet-100 was making a second flight as part of the demonstration program. 

"The first flight was carried out in a normal mode ... The pre-flight preparations were carried out in full and the plane was completely ready to fly," she said. 

"According to information from Indonesia, the contact with the plane was broken after 20 minutes from the take-off ...  search works are under way." 

An Indonesian charter airline Sky Aviation posted on its Facebook account what it said was a picture of a Sukhoi Superjet-100 at the airport.

Mast Irham/ EPA

Relatives of people who were believed to be on the missing Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft check the passenger list at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday.

Search and rescue teams were heading to the area, said Bambang Ervan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation. Bad weather, however, forced at least two helicopters to turn back.   

'No trace'
"A helicopter has just returned but says there is no trace of it. Rescuers are looking at the maps trying to determine where it could be," Sergey Dolya, who flew on the missing aircraft's first flight, told Russia Today.

Russia Today said a hijacking had not been ruled out by local officials, but noted the plane would have run out of fuel by now.

With a capacity of 68-103 passengers, the Sukhoi's Superjet-100 was developed in partnership with Boeing and Italy's Finmeccanica. The plane is the first completely new airliner designed by Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The missing plane was on the fourth stop of a six-nation "Welcome Asia!" roadshow after having already been to Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

It was supposed to head next to Laos and Vietnam. Russia has hoped that the short- to mid-range jet, which made its maiden run in 2008, will help it break into international markets dominated by Boeing and Airbus.

Sukhoi, which has orders for 170 planes, plans to produce up to 1,000 Superjets, primarily for foreign markets.

Msnbc.com staff, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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