American died on Russian Superjet demo flight

OAKLEY, Calif. — A Northern California man is among the dozens presumed dead after a Russian-made plane crashed into a volcano in Indonesia during a demonstration flight, his wife said.

Randi Adler told the Contra Costa Times (http://bit.ly/KT5S9v ) that her husband, Peter Adler of Oakley, was aboard the new Sukhoi Superjet-100 plane that crashed on Wednesday. All 45 people on board are presumed dead.

“I sat and cried for three days,” Randi Adler, 53, said. The couple were married for 33 years.

The flight was mostly carrying representatives from Indonesian airlines, who were being wooed as potential buyers. Peter Adler, 55, was apparently the only American on board.

He collected and delivered planes for corporate customers and ensured the aircraft were technically sound, Randi Adler said.

Before that, he worked as a co-pilot for a now-defunct airline.

Randi Adler said flying was an important part of his life. He flew her to Oxnard on their first date.

“We were inseparable ever since,” she told The Associated Press on Saturday.

He proposed to her as they watched planes at the international airport in his hometown of Los Angeles.

He also liked to play with radio-controlled planes and helicopters.

“It’s what he was. It’s (where) his heart was,” she said.

Randi Adler said her husband was due back on Friday, a day ahead of their son’s 18th birthday celebration. She is working to recover his body and get the family’s affairs in order and said she could use help finding a job in the airline industry.

Rescuers on Saturday were able to land helicopters and remove remains from the site, which is about 50 miles southwest of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. They have not yet found the plane’s black box recorder.

The plane crashed about halfway through a 50-minute flight. The Russian pilot and co-pilot asked for permission to drop from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet 21 minutes after takeoff from a Jakarta airfield although they gave no explanation why. The plane disappeared from the radar immediately afterward.

The Superjet is Russia’s first new model of passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago and was intended to help revive its aerospace industry.

Information from: Contra Costa Times, http://www.contracostatimes.com

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