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A flight operated by Air Algerie carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algiers has crashed, an Algerian aviation official told Reuters on Thursday.
Air Algerie says Flight AH5017 crashed in Tilemsi, Mali — a desert area with a population less than 3,000. Mali's president says wreckage of the flight has been spotted between northern towns of Aguelhoc and Kidal.
Air navigation services lost track of AH5017, a Swiftair MD-83 jet, about 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 1:55 a.m. GMT (9:55 pm EST on Wednesday night), the official Algerian news agency said. That means Flight 5017 had been missing for hours before the news was made public.
Swiftair, a private Spanish airline that provided the plane to Air Algerie, said in a statement that its MD83 aircraft was carrying 110 passengers and six crew members.
An Air Algerie representative in Burkina Faso said the passenger list included 50 French nationals. The French army has dispatched two French fighter jets based in the region to ascertain the whereabouts of the missing airliner, Reuters reports.
The AP reports the plane went missing over Mali, a country experiencing conflict between the government and rebels in the northern region. According to Burkina Faso's Ministry of Transport, the pilot of Flight AH5017 asked to modify his flight path due to bad weather conditions.
Here's the path of the missing flight, according to the BBC:
Image Credit: BBC News
At the time of the crash, this was the weather in the region:
A list of passengers on the missing Air Algerie flight includes
- 51 French,
- 27 Burkina Faso nationals,
- 8 Lebanese,
- 6 Algerians,
- 5 Canadians,
- 4 Germans,
- 2 Luxemburg nationals,
- 1 Swiss, 1 Belgium, 1 Egyptian, 1 Ukrainian, 1 Nigerian, 1 Cameroonian and 1 Malian, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo says. Six crew members are Spanish, according to the Spanish pilots' union.
The disappearance comes following a particularly tumultuous week for air travel. Last week, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by Ukrainian separatists over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on board.
On Thursday, 48 people were killed and 10 injured after TransAsia Airways Flight 222 made an emergency landing in the outlying Penghu islands of the coast of Taiwan, marking the country's deadliest plane crash in more than a decade.