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Sukhoi Crash Probe Gets Army Support in Hunt for Data Recorder

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May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Indonesian salvage crews sifting through the wreckage of the Russian Sukhoi SuperJet in the thicket of West Java have enlisted the help of the army and special forces as the hunt continues for the data recorder.

The country had dispatched 600 search and rescue experts to the site following the crash on May 9 that killed all 45 people on board, and the effort is now being handed off to military forces trained in salvaging equipment. Russian support personnel deployed to Indonesia have started winding down their effort, according to the Russian Emergency Ministry.

Search crews are focused on finding the container housing the data recorder that stores systems and engine performance to help determine the cause of the crash. The Sukhoi jet was on a promotional trip through Asia, and the aircraft that crashed had been switched halfway through the tour after an issue on an engine component on a flight from Kazakhstan to Pakistan.

“We haven’t stopped the search,” said Gagah Prakosa, a spokesman at Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency.

Olga Kayukova, a spokeswoman for Sukhoi parent company United Aircraft Corp., said she had no immediate information on how long it would take to analyze the contents of the cockpit voice recorder. The voice recorder captures sounds including conversations and alarms heard in the pilot cabin

The plane, which seats five abreast, uses engines built by PowerJet, a venture between Snecma, a unit of Safran SA, and NPO Saturn. The aircraft had been on its second flight of the day, carrying prospective customers and local journalists, when it disappeared from radar screens shortly into its voyage.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Rothman in Paris at aerothman@bloomberg.net; Anna Shiryaevskaya in Moscow at ashiryaevska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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