Human remians ... a rescue team carry a body bag.

Human remains ... a rescue team carry a body bag. Photo: Reuters

Clearer weather has finally allowed helicopters to retrieve some remains of the 45 people aboard a Russian plane that crashed into an Indonesian volcano.

Investigators have still found no sign of the black box recorder that might explain why the new Sukhoi Superjet-100 slammed into Mount Salak.

The crash happened about halfway through a 50-minute flight intended to woo potential Indonesian airline buyers on Wednesday.

Relatives of the victims burst into tears on Saturday as they watched men unload 10 black body bags from a military helicopter at a Jakarta airbase.

Search teams who climbed the dormant volcano's near-vertical slopes have been struggling to retrieve remains of the victims.

Helicopters had been unable to land because of thick fog shrouding the mountain about 80km southwest of Jakarta.

All those aboard the flight are now presumed dead and the plane's shredded wreckage is scattered around dense jungle.

The teams including 15 professional climbers have altogether filled 16 body bags with the remains.

They continued to search on Saturday along the steep cliffs and in a nearby ravine near the wreckage.

"We also have deployed a team to find the black box but so far it has yet [to be] found," search and rescue spokesman Gagah Prakoso said.

About 60 forensic experts will sort through the body parts piece by piece and take DNA samples to identify them.

All but 10 of the 45 people on board the plane were potential Indonesian buyers and journalists.

The others were Russians, all from Sukhoi companies, an American consultant with a local airline and a Frenchman with aircraft engine-maker Snecma.

Just 21 minutes after take-off from a Jakarta airfield, the Russian pilot and co-pilot asked for permission to drop from 3000 metres to 1800 metres. They gave no explanation, disappearing from the radar immediately afterwards.

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 resurrect its aerospace industry.

AP