Search teams found at least 12 bodies on Friday on the steep slope of an Indonesian volcano, where a Russian-made jetliner crashed while demonstrating the plane for potential buyers from airlines, an official said.

All 45 aboard the Sukhoi Superjet-100 that crashed on 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 on Friday.

The search team 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. The bodies they found are being prepared to be transported from the crash site by helicopter.

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.

The jetliner slammed into the dormant volcano at nearly 800 kph during drizzle. 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. 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 volcano, or whether they got an OK, officials have said.


All killed in plane crash May 10, 2012

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