JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian special forces traversed the sheer slope of a volcano Monday after spotting what they believe is the flight recorder of a new Russian-made passenger jet that crashed during a demonstration flight for potential buyers.
It's not clear what caused the Sukhoi Superjet-100 to roar into Mount Salak at 480 mph (800 kph) last week. All 45 people aboard are presumed dead, and helicopters have been ferrying the remains to Jakarta, the capital, for identification.
Search teams believe they spotted the flight and data recorder, also known as the "black box," peeking from wreckage at the bottom of a 1,500 -foot (500) -meter ravine, said Tatang Kurniadi, who heads the National Transportation Safety Commission.
"We are really hoping they'll reach it sometime today," he said.
The Sukhoi Superjet-100 is Russia's first new model of passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago, and its six-nation Asian tour was aimed at luring new customers.
The plane was making its second demonstration flight of the day Wednesday when the crew asked for permission to drop from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet (3,000 meters to 1,800 meters) just 12 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta. It wasn't clear why they asked, and the plane disappeared from the radar immediately afterward.