Relatives of Superjet Crash Victims Observe Recovered Bodies

The relatives of those killed when a Sukhoi Superjet plane crashed on a remote hilltop in Indonesia earlier this week gathered at a hospital in the capital Jakarta on Saturday to observe identification of the victims’ bodies, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported.

The partial remains of several victims’ bodies from the May 9 crash were airlifted to Jakarta airport earlier on Saturday and then taken to the National Police Hospital for identification. 

A post-mortem of the bodies may take weeks or even years as some have already decomposed, said Anton Castilani, chief of the National Police’s disaster victim identification unit.

All 45 people on board the Russian-made Superjet 100 – most of them representatives of Indonesian airlines – were killed after the plane slammed into a steep mountainside outside Jakarta.

The jet, Russia’s first new commercial plane since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago, was on a demonstration flight for potential customers.

The search for the aircraft’s two black boxes will start after all the bodies are evacuated from the scene, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) head Mikhail Pogosyan said on Saturday.

“Both the Russian and the Indonesian sides are interested in the earliest, as well as most objective investigation of the tragedy,” he said.

“We expect the first part of the operation, including the evacuation of the bodies, to be completed within 24 hours,” he added.

The plane crashed in a remote area on rugged terrain and if it proves impossible to find the black boxes quickly “we will use other sources of objective information,” he added.

The aircraft had experienced no technical problems ahead of the flight, its second of the day, Pogosyan said on Friday, adding it was still premature to say if pilot error caused the crash.

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