Live: All passengers and crew on board Air Algerie dead, confirms France

An Air Algerie flight AH5017 has gone missing 50 minutes after takeoff from Burkina Faso. Track live updates here.

hidden July 26, 2014 11:39:30 IST
Live: All passengers and crew on board Air Algerie dead, confirms France

11:40 am: France confirms death of all passengers and crew on board flight

France announced that all passengers and crew on board an Air Algerie jetliner that crashed in Mali died in the tragedy, which completely wiped out several families. As the first images emerged of the crash site, showing a charred landscape and debris scattered over a wide area, French President Francois Hollande said in a sombre televised address: "Sadly, there are no survivors."

The French army released initial images of a scene of total devastation, with twisted and charred fragments of the McDonnell Douglas 83 jet littering a scorched earth in what is clearly a barren and remote environment.

Such was the apparent violence of the crash that debris was barely recognisable as parts of an aircraft. "It is difficult to retrieve anything, even victims' bodies, because we have only seen body parts on the ground," said General Gilbert Diendiere, chief of staff at Burkina Faso's presidency.

He was a member of a delegation sent to the crash site by President Blaise Compaore that arrived in the Gossi area, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Goa, northern Mali's main city, on Friday afternoon.

"Debris was scattered over an area of 500 metres which is due to the fact that the plane hit the ground and then probably rebounded," he added. Meanwhile, the scale of the tragedy for some communities was becoming clear, as it emerged that 10 members of one French family died in the crash. "It's brutal. It has wiped an entire family from the earth," said Patrice Dunard, mayor of Gex, where four of the Reynaud family lived.

End of updates for 25 July

9.12 pm: 200 French troops guard Air Algerie crash site, find black box

Associated Press reports that French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason for the catastrophe that killed all 118 people onboard is bad weather.

More than 200 troops are guarding the site before French accident and criminal investigators arrive Saturday in the area, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

The debris field is in a concentrated area in the Gossi region of Mali near the border with Burkina Faso "in a zone of savannah and sand with very difficult access, especially in this rainy season," Fabius said at a news conference in Paris with the defense and transport ministers.

2.40 pm Air Algerie flight black box found

An AFP news alert quotes French President Francois Hollande as saying that the black box from the plane has been found. Hollande also said that there are 'no survivors' on Air Algerie jet‎.

12.56 pm: Survivors unlikely, says France's transport minister

AFP has reported France's transport minister as saying that it was extremely unlikely, and even "out of the question" that any of the 116 people on board an Air Algerie plane that crashed over Mali had survived.

"Given the state of the plane (wreck), it is very unlikely, even out of the question, that there are any survivors," Frederic Cuvillier said on French television, adding that French military forces were heading to the site where the jet -- which had 51 French nationals on board -- crashed.

12.15 pm: Weather likely cause of crash, says France interior minister

The most likely cause of the crash of an Air Algerie plane with 116 people on board is the weather, France's interior minister said on Friday, hours after the wreckage of the jet was found in Mali, news agency AFP reported.

"We think that this plane crashed for reasons pertaining to meteorological conditions," Bernard Cazeneuve said on RTL radio, adding it was the "most probable hypothesis" although authorities were not excluding other potential causes for the accident of the jet, which had 51 French nationals on board. - AFP

7.00 am: Wreckage of Air Algerie plane found, French military to secure area
The wreckage of an Air Algerie plane missing with at least 116 people on board has been found in Mali's Gossi region, not far from the Burkina Faso border, the French president's office said on Friday.

The jet was clearly identified even though it had "disintegrated".
A statement issued by the presidency confirmed earlier reports from Burkina Faso.
A "French military unit has been sent to (the area) to secure the site and gather evidence". - AFP<
Updates for 24 July end

8.55 pm: French foreign minister says Air Algerie flight may have crashed

An Air Algerie jet that went missing over Mali Thursday has probably crashed but there has been no trace of the plane yet, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

Fabius said there were 51 French nationals aboard the flight from the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou to Algiers, which had more than 110 people on board in all.

"Despite intensive searches, no trace of the plane has been found as we speak," he said.

"The plane has probably crashed. The searches are focusing at this stage on a vast strip of Malian territory around the region of Gao," in the restive north of the west African nation, he said.

Fabius said according to information from Burkinabe officials there were 51 French nationals on board. He said there were people from 14 other nations on board, including the plane's Spanish crew.

"Contact was lost with the McDonnell-Douglas 83 at 01:47, a little after the pilots said they were diverting from the route due to meteorological reasons," he said.

There were reports of heavy storms in the region.

Northern Mali was seized by jihadist groups for several months in 2012 and the region has remained unstable despite the Islamists being driven out in a French-led offensive.

Despite international military intervention still under way, the situation remains unstable in northern Mali, which was seized by jihadist groups for several months in 2012.

6.00 pm: Crashed or missing?

Even as China's CCTV reports earlier suggested that Air Algerie AH5017, with 116 people on board has crashed in Niger, conflicting reports have now emerged that the plane has vanished over northern Mali. Although the search is on in a strife-torn area, no wreckage has been located so far. There was also confusion over the model of the plane as an Air Algerie official had earlier said it was an Airbus 320 but it turned out to be a MD-83.

5.30 pm: Air Algerie launches emergency plan as plane crashes in Niger

Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan as its plane with 116 people on board has crashed. reports CNN-IBN.

A company source told AFP that the missing aircraft was a DC-9. The source said contact with the flight was lost while it was still in Malian airspace approaching the border with Algeria, reports NDTV.

4.45 pm: Air Algerie plane has crashed in Niger

The Air Algerie AH5017, with 116 people on board has crashed in Niger.

Chinese state TV says that the plane was flying through areas affected by violent storms when it crashed.

Air Algerie said it lost contact with one of its aircraft nearly an hour after takeoff from Burkina Faso on Thursday bound for Algiers.

Live All passengers and crew on board Air Algerie dead confirms France

Representational Image. Reuters

"Air navigation services have lost contact with an Air Algerie plane Thursday flying from Ouagadougou to Algiers, 50 minutes after takeoff," the airline said, cited by national news agency APS.

APS gave no details on the number of passengers aboard flight AH 5017.

It said the company initiated an "emergency plan" in the search for flight AH5017, which flies the four-hour passenger route four times a week.

FlightRadar24 reports that SwiftAir was operating the flight which was a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 which can seat up to some 135 passengers.

Swift Air said that 110 passengers and 6 crew members were on board the missing plane.

Ougadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.

 

Independent journalists from the region report that the area where the flight went missing from witnessed storm-like conditions when the flight went missing.

Baki Mansour also tweeted out an image of a similar SwiftAir flight taking off

You can follow a live Twitter search feed here:


Agencies

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