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Monday, August 26, 2013

BREAKING : EXCLUSIVE UPDATE : Russian Sukhoi Demonstration Flight Crashes into Indonesian Mountain

Preliminary reports coming in, questions arising with regard to passengers disembarking plane prior to crash, possibility that ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) was off or malfunctioning

The 5th Estate
By Robert S. Finnegan and Imas Kurniawati
05/11/2011

Bogor, West Java -

Indonesian Marines and other emergency personnel are now combing the jungle on Mt. Salak, Java, for victim remains from the crash of a Russian Sukhoi Superjet on Wednesday.  The demonstration flight disappeared from radar screens at approximately 6,200 feet with an estimated 48 people on board, however the exact number is unknown as the flight manifest was reported to be on board the plane.


Rescue personnel have been hampered by terrain and weather
Radio contact with the airport was last made at 2:33 p.m. Jakarta time (GMT +7) following the pilots descent from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet.

The National Committee of Transportation Safety (KNKT) along with an investigation team from Russia will also investigate missing ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) signals from Sukhoi Superjet 100 following the crash on Mount Salak.

The ELT signals should have been immediately transmitted and received when the crash occurred. “This is what we currently are investigating, why there was no signal received when it happened,” said The Chief of KNKT, Mr. Tatang Kurniadi at Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport.  The ELT was to have deployed automatically upon the crash of the Sukhoi.

Basarnas (National Search and Rescue Agency) Chief, Vice Marshal Daryatmo said the last known position of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 was at 06 43’08” South, 106 43’15” East in the vicinity of Cidahu village in Sukabumi regency, West Java.


Rough terrain caused a long delay as rescue personnel battled the jungle to get to the crash site

Terminal receivers installed in East Indonesia and Jakarta also did not receive the emergency signal, receivers in Singapore and Australia also failed to detect activation of the Sukhoi's ELT. KNKT will also investigate the reason for the pilot's decision to decrease altitude so suddenly. The Sukhoi was initially at 10,000 feet when the Superjet suddenly radioed controllers it was descending to 6,000 feet.  Contact was then immediately lost. “We keep wondering why he has decided to do so and that’s what we’re trying to find out” Tatang said.

Tatang also said that the joint investigation conducted by both KNKT Indonesia and Russia is not meant to find the “black sheep” or to obtain retribution, “but this is a lesson (learned in a hard way) for future reference to do better next time around.”


The location of the jungle crash site continues to hamper rescue efforts
 
The spokesperson for the Russian Investigation Committee, Vladimir Markin said a criminal case has been opened, with the investigation to include an analysis of pilot and crew training.

Already 225 people have been sent to Mount Salak canyon as part of the evacuation team. The location of the crash site is extremely difficult to reach, the ground slippery and steeply ascending.

“We have not received any information about the victims yet,” said Udjwalaprana Sigit (Chief of Disaster Prevention Committee of West Java). Some of the team are ABOVE the canyon and some of them are in the canyon itself, trying to figure out the best way to evacuate the victims. If the weather permits, this afternoon we’ll start the evacuation" [of the remains].

The 5th Estate will continue to update this report as information becomes available.


Robert S. Finnegan is a retired investigative journalist,  journalism professor and Marine Corps NCO who resides in Jakarta and Garut Indonesia with his spouse, photographer Imas Kurniawati-Finnegan.  They may be reached at  Indonesia:  +62 812-98-177936, +62 821-23-926857.



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