Rescuers brought out twelve bodies on Friday from a crash site where a Sukhoi Superjet 100 airliner went down in Indonesia on Wednesday, a minister coordinating the search teams said.
The bodies have been taken to the mainsearch coordination site at Pasir Mangis in western Java.
The information was confirmed by the Russian commission helping investigate the incident.
“The Russian commission is working closely with Indonesian headquarters to find out the circumstances of the crash and in the rescue effort. According to the Indonesians, they have found 12 bodies,” the Russian Embassy’s in Jakarta’s press attaché Dmitry Solodov said.
The aircraft hit steep ground at an altitude of 5,200 feet (1,600 meters) on near Jakarta during a demonstration flight. Eight of those on board were Russian, including the flight crew.
Indonesian rescue teams finally reached the crash site on Friday by roping down from helicopters. Further search teams are heading for the scene on the ground, hoping to clear landing sites for helicopters in order to bring out the bodies of the dead and wreckage.
Meanwhile, simulator trials held at a flight research center near Moscow suggest pilot error was a likely factor in the accident, Izvestia daily reported on Friday.
The trials, held at a pilot training center at Zhukovsky near Moscow, simulated “various emergency situations and concluded that none of those could have been behind the crash,” the paper said.
The SSJ-100’s cockpit Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) informs pilots of approaching obstacles, a source at the center said.
“You just cannot miss the alert signal: if there is a danger, the system puts an alert message onto the central display, and a red light indicator as well as a speech alert come on,” he said. “Besides, automatic systems can intervene to try to help the plane avoid a colllision.”
The source suggested the pilots may have turned off the alert system in order to speak with the passengers or show them around the cabin.
Another expert at the center said the pilots may have “stopped taking notice” of the alert system as it is “nearly always on” in mountainious regions.
Other flight safety experts have dismissed the test results however, for giving an incomplete picture.
“Tests in a simulator don’t tell the whole story,” another, unnamed expert from the flight research institute told Prime News agency. “Tests with a real aircraft are possible only after the discovery and decoding of the aircraft’s flight data recorders,” he said.
“Decoding of the recorders is vital, to recreate the flight parameters at the time of the crash,” he added.
Another expert agreed the apparent failure of the aircraft’s Terrain Awareness and Warning System was critical.
“There are three possibilities: the first is that it was not working, the second that it was turned off or they didn’t pay attention to it, or that it gave an erroneous indication,” he said.
On Thurdsay, Russia’s acting Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said experts believe “human factor” was the most probable cause of the fatal crash of the aircraft.
“Experts say that all [the aircraft’s] equipment functioned smoothly. In other words, it could be some kind of a human error,” Rogozin told journalists.
Superjet-100 Crashes in Indonesia