The Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 – which had 45 people on board – disappeared from radar screens 50 minutes after taking off from Jakarta for a demonstration flight.

Passengers included airlines reps and reporters. The flight was part of a tour to promote the new Russian plane, the first commercial model from military plane-maker Sukhoi.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in a statement on TV: “The aeroplane crashed at the edge of Salak mountain.

“I have spoken directly to our officer in the field, it was found around 1.5km from the spot where the plane last made contact.”

He added: “An investigation must be carried out immediately and thoroughly. Search and rescue operations must prioritise finding any survivors.”

Officials said a helicopter spotted debris on the side of a cliff, near Salak mountain, a dormant volcano.

There has been no sign of passengers so far, but rescuers are planning to send a team onto the ridge to search for survivors.

Earlier reports said that 50 people had been on board, but the figure has been revised down after some people believed to be on the plane contacted authorities to say that they weren’t.

Picture: Getty