The side of the mountain into which the new jet slammed. All 45 on board are believed dead.
MOSCOW: The loss of the new Superjet 100 in Indonesia has dealt a heavy blow to the Russian aviation industry which hoped the first new civilian aircraft built in post-Soviet Russia would improve its image.
The Superjet 100, developed by legendary Russian planemakers Sukhoi, first took to the skies in 2008 and only started commercial flights last year in what officials hoped would mark a turnaround for the industry.
Russia's aviation industry is still shadowed by stereotypes of oddly-shaped and disaster-prone Soviet planes but the Superjet was a brand new project aimed at presenting a gleaming new image of Russian technical prowess to the world.
In a horrific irony, the accident happened when the plane was performing a test flight in Jakarta for guests including foreign aviation executives while on its first tour of Asia to drum up more orders in the region.
The Russian government has championed the $1 billion Superjet project, wooing Italian industrial giant Finmeccanica to take a stake, and, whatever the cause of the incident, this support is likely to remain strong.
"We are still hoping that the incident in Jakarta will not have an influence on Superjet orders," an official from the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry told the Vedomosti daily.
The plane is intended to replace the Tupolev-134, the workhorse of Soviet short-haul aviation, which was involved in several disasters in the last decade and which many airlines such as Aeroflot have now withdrawn from service.
"What has happened will definitely slow down the programme and cause some reputational damage," the director of the Centre for Strategic Analysis and Technology Ruslan Pukhov told the Izvestia daily.
"But the programme is not going to come to a halt. And the Superjet is still going to be sold both on the domestic and foreign markets."
Just over half a dozen Superjets are currently flying commercially, mostly for Aeroflot on short-haul routes such as from Moscow to Minsk and from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod but also for Armenian carrier Armavia.
It was Armavia that made the first commercial flight on a Superjet in 2011, shortly followed by Aeroflot, which now mainly operates Airbus and Boeing jets after ditching the Tupolev.
Sukhoi has already inked in recent months a 12-jet sale to Italy's Blue Panorama Airlines and a 15-plane deal with Mexico's Interjet as well as an agreement to sell 12 planes to Indonesian regional carrier PT Sky Aviation.
"The main commercial plans and hopes of the Russian aviation industry were resting specifically on the SSJ 100," said the Kommersant daily.
The loss of the plane has sent shockwaves through the Russian aviation industry, with press reports saying the pilot Alexander Yablontsev was hugely experienced and was considered Sukhoi's leading test pilot for the Superjet.
"Obviously, any catastrophe by definition damages the reputation of the type of plane involved," Russian defence and aviation expert Konstantin Makiyenko told the Interfax news agency.
"All the more so when, as in the case of the Superjet (accident), we are talking about a new market for the product," he said, adding that firm conclusions could only be drawn when the investigation was completed.
The Superjet project is a joint venture between Sukhoi and Italy's Alenia Aeronautica, which is part of the partially state-owned Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica.
Alenia owns 25 per cent plus one share of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, the Sukhoi unit developing the jet, as well as 51 per cent of Superjet International, which is handling sales of the aircraft.