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Russian Jetliner Disappears in Indonesia

Ground control lost contact with a demonstration model of a new Russian passenger jet as the plane flew over a mountainous area of Indonesia on Wednesday. The 50 people aboard, many of them prospective buyers, are missing. –ARK

The New York Times:

The Russia Today news Web site said that 50 people were aboard the plane, including eight Russians and 36 citizens from other countries, mostly airline representatives interested in buying it. The Superjet 100 is the first newly designed passenger jet made in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The plane vanished soon after the pilot requested permission to descend, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Indonesia told the Interfax news agency.

The agency also cited an unidentified spokesman for the Russian Transportation Ministry saying that a preflight check had turned up nothing suspicious, a standard assurance offered by Russian transportation authorities after mishaps.

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