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Indonesia: 12 victims of Russian "superjet" crash found, all 45 passengers suspected dead (UPDATE)


Indonesian relatives of passengers of the Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 cry at Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta on May 10, 2012 as rescuers search for survivors at crash site in Mount Salak in Western Java province.


Romeo Gacad

Indonesian rescue teams found at least 12 bodies near the wreckage site of the Russian "superjet" that crashed on the side of a dormant volcano south of Jakarta on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported

"Today we have discovered 12 victims, all dead," Rear Marshal Daryatmo, head of the national search and rescue agency, told reporters Friday. 

All 45 passengers who were aboard the Sukhoi Superjet-100, which was on a test flight for prospective buyers, are feared dead, according to the AP. 

More from GlobalPost: Indonesia: Bodies but no survivors found among wreckage of crashed Russian jet

But Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pushed for the search and rescue teams — who reached the wreckage on Thursday after a six- to eight-hour trek on foot to the steep side of Mount Salak, ABC News reported — to find any passengers that may still be alive. 

"If there are still survivors from the accident, please find them," the President said at a press conference at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta on Friday, according to the Jakarta Post

President Yudhoyono also said that he was in touch with Russia's President Vladimir Putin Thursday night about the crash, and that Putin sent his condolences. 

"We have agreed to work together in the search and rescue effort, and to analyze the circumstances surrounding the accident," the President said, according to the Post.

More from GlobalPost: Indonesia: Wreckage of missing plane found

Many of the bodies found Friday had been torn apart by the impact, Lt. Col. Oni Juniato of the Indonesian marines told reporters.

"We see many other victims ... but the ravines and steep cliffs prevent us from reaching them," Junianto said in a statement, according to the AP. 

The superjet was meant to herald a new era of success for Russia's aerospace industry, the Christian Science Monitor reported: Russia has said it hoped to sell $250 billion worth of aircraft by 2025, surpassing Soviet-era output records to compete with US and European competitors. 

According to the AP, the Russian pilot and copilot asked air traffic control if they could lower the plane from 10,000 to 6,000 feet over the mountains of West Java, 21 minutes after taking off from Jakarta. 

"If it was pilot error then it is not a huge blow to the Russian aerospace industry," Tom Chruszcz, a director at the ratings agency Fitch, told the Monitor. "However, if it was a technical problem with the aircraft, then it could really affect customer perception of the aircraft and order capability." 

It is still unclear why the crew asked to change course, especially since they were so close to the 7,000-foot volcano, or whether they got permission from air traffic control, officials told the AP. The flight's communication tapes are going to be examined in the investigation of the crash, but will not likely be released to the public.