Sukhoi lost contact 12 minutes after take-off

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The transportation ministry in a press statement here on Friday said Sukhoi Superjet 100 took off at 2.21 p.m. local time from the Halim Perdanakusuma air force base in East Jakarta and lost contact 12 minutes later, at 2.33 p.m.

The ill-fated plane lost contact soon after informing the Air Traffic Control (ATC) about its plan to descend from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet.

"The height of 6,000 feet would have been safe if the plane were flying above Atang Sanjaya airport in Bogor, but Sukhoi`s wreckage was found on a cliff of Mount Salak in Sukabumi District," said Herry Bakti S Gumay, the transportation ministry`s director general of air transportation, in a written statement.

He added there should be no speculation about the cause of the accident and the results of the investigation carried out by the Transportation Safety National Committee (KNKT) must be awaited.

"We should not guess the cause of the accident. We should wait for the results of KNKT`s investigation," Herry stated.

He said the ministry would not interfere in any plans to purchase Sukhoi Superjet 100 by airline companies because they were business-related matters.

PT Kartika Airlines plans to buy 30 units of Sukhoi Supertjet 100, while PT Sky Aviation wants to purchase 12 units from Russia`s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company.