Algerian aircraft with 116 people missing over Mali which is witnessing a civil war
An Algerian airline jet, which went missing over Mali with 119 people on board, including 50 French nationals, has crashed, said aviation officials. There were few clear indications of what might have happened to the aircraft, or whether there were casualties.
The aircraft vanished 50 minutes after take-off from the capital of Burkina Faso after the crew reportedly requested that they should be allowed to change course due to a storm. But it was not immediately clear why the plane was missing for hours before airline and government officials made the information public. Reuters noted that officials originally gave conflicting timelines regarding the plane’s disappearance, “add-ing to confusion about the fate of the flight.”
The crash has come after a treacherous week for the aviation industry in which 298 people were killed when Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane was shot down over Ukraine and 48 people died in a crash in Taiwan.
The American Federal Aviation Authority recently warned US airlines that Mali was a ‘high risk’ area for commercial flights due to civil war in the country. Despite international military intervention, the situation remains unstable in northern Mali, which was seized by jihadist groups for several months in 2012.
The search for the Air Algerie flight is focussing on a ‘vast strip’ of land in Mali, France’s foreign minister said. Amid conflicting reports, the minister said no wreckage had been found, but believed the plane had probably crashed. Two French fighter jets based in the region have been dispatched to try to locate the airliner along its probable route.