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Bodies spotted at jet crash site

Rescuers have discovered bodies near the wreckage of a Russian-made passenger plane that crashed into an Indonesian volcano with 45 people on board.

Search and rescue spokesman Gagah Prakoso said his teams reached the remote, rugged site near the crater and found the Sukhoi Superjet-100 scattered along the jungle slopes.

He said rescuers also spotted several bodies, which will have to be placed in nets and lifted by ropes to hovering helicopters.

The plane was on a demonstration flight for potential buyers and journalists in Indonesia when it crashed on Wednesday, 20 minutes after take-off.

Family members, many of whom spent a long, sleepless night at the airport, broke down in tears on hearing the wreckage had been found.

Daryatmo, chief of the national search and rescue agency, said: "From the pictures we're seeing, it looks like it was a total loss."

Russia's first new passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago was scattered on a steep slope near the top of Mount Salak, a volcano 30 miles south west of the capital Jakarta. The company's blue and white logo peeked through the dense canopy of trees.

The plane left Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta for a quick test flight aimed at impressing potential buyers.

Twenty-one minutes after take-off, the crew asked for permission to descend from 10,000ft to 6,000ft, said Daryatmo. The plane went off the radar immediately afterwards.

It is not clear why the Russian pilot and co-pilot asked to drop down, especially when it was so close to the 7,000ft mountain, or if the descent was approved.

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