Algeria: Rescue Workers Recover Most of Military Plane Crash Victims From Mount Fortas

Photo: Nigeria
Plane in the air (file photo)

Rescue workers have found most of the people killed on board an Algerian military aircraft, which crashed into a mountain in Algeria's east. The country is to mark the loss with three days of mourning.

An Algerian rescue team has recovered most of the 77 people killed on Tuesday in a plane crash on Mount Fortas, in the country's rugged north east region.

The defense ministry estimated that at least 55 of the victims had been found. However, news agency AFP said that all but one of the dead had been recovered. The victims included four crew members, as well as some women and children, thought to be family members of military personnel on board.

The sole survivor - a soldier - had been transported to a military hospital to be treated for severe head injuries.

Meanwhile, the office of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has announced a three-day mourning period to honor the "martyrs" killed in the crash. The majority of casualties were soldiers en route from Algeria's southern military hub of Tamanrasset to the northeastern city of Constantine.

The C-130 Hercules military transport plane slammed into Mount Fortas - located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Constantine - after losing radio contact with air traffic control just before noon on Tuesday.

"Very bad weather conditions, involving a storm and heavy snowfall, were behind the crash," the defense ministry said in a statement.

Lockheed Martin reportedly confirmed that it had sold C-130 Hercules aircraft to Algeria during the 1980s and would assist authorities there in their investigation of the crash if asked.

In 2003, the southern city of Tamanrasset was the site of Algeria's worst plane crash to date when a civilian airliner crashed during take off. Over 100 people were killed in the accident.

kms/ch (AP, AFP

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