24 July 2014

Algeria: Air Algerie Flight Goes Missing Over Mali

Photo: VOA
An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people has vanished while en route from Burkina Faso to Algeria. A French government official and the plane's Spanish owner says contact was lost with the aircraft over northern Mali.

An Air Algeria flight carrying at least 116 people has disappeared during a trip from Burkina Faso's capital to Algiers.

Algeria's official APS news agency reports the plane was last seen on radar as it flew over the town of Gao in northern Mali (at 155 UTC) on Thursday, about 38 minutes after it took off from Ouagadougou.

There was no immediate word on what happened to the plane, which was chartered by Air Algeria from a Spanish airline, Swiftair.

Reuters news agency quotes Burkina Faso's transport minister, Jean Bertin Ouedrago, as saying the plane had asked to change course because of a storm in the area.

French jets search for plane

Two French fighter jets based in West Africa have been deployed to try and locate a missing Air Algerie flight, a French army spokesman said on Thursday.

"Two Mirage 2000 jets based in Africa were dispatched to try to locate the Air Algerie plane that disappeared on Thursday,'' French army spokesman Gilles Jaron said. "They will search an area from its last known destination along its probable route.''

Who was onboard?

A statement from Swiftair said there were 116 people on board, including six crew members, while APS said the plane was carrying 119 people, including seven crew members of Spanish nationality.

The passenger list included 50 French citizens, the airline's representative in Burkina Faso told a news conference in Ouagadougou.

Crisis team

Algerian officials have set up a crisis team at the Algiers airport, while Swiftair said emergency equipment and personnel have been deployed to find out what happened to the plane.

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