News July 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

Breaking: Air Algerie Crashes in Niger

Edna Owusu-Ansah July 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

July 24, 2014 at 11:45 am | News

algeria missing plane

Air Algerie Flight 5017, which was carrying 110 passengers and six crew members, has reportedly crashed in Niger, after disappearing from the radar early Thursday morning between Burkina Faso and Algeria.

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Initial reports of the crash were confirmed by Algerian aviation authorities. “I can confirm that it has crashed,” an anonymous official told Reuters. While details of the whereabouts of the plane were initially unclear, early reports from the CCTV network and Algerian TV suggested that it went down in Niger.

A spokeswoman for Spanish private airline company, Swiftair, confirmed that it had lost contact with one of its planes operated by Air Algerie on Thursday. The plane was an Air Algerie MD-83.

“Air navigation services have lost contact with an Air Algerie plane Thursday flying from Ouagadougou to Algiers, 50 minutes after take-off,” the airline said.

Not long after, Swiftair also confirmed that the missing aircraft crashed in Niger:

 

 

French Transport Minister, Frederic Cuvillier, told reporters that there were “likely many” French passengers on board the flight; the six crew members are Spanish. Cuban President Fidel Castro‘s niece was also reportedly on the plane.

ABC News reports:

The airline said that there were 110 passengers on board as well as six crew members. The airport’s Facebook page identified one of the passengers as Mariela Castro, a niece of the former Cuban strongman. Mariela Castro is a prominent gay rights advocate.

Burkina Faso’s transport minister said 50 French nationals were among those onboard, along with 24 Burkina Faso nationals, six Lebanese, five Canadians, four Algerians, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian.

Burkina Faso’s transport minister confirmed that the Air Algerie flight had asked to change course at 1:38 am GMT because of a storm. Meanwhile, an Algerian aviation source, who wished to remain anonymous, told the AFP that the plane was not far from the Algerian frontier when the crew was asked to make a detour because of poor visibility and to prevent the risk of collision with another aircraft on the Algiers-Bamako route.”

Two French fighter jets have been dispatched to help locate the flight, a French army spokesperson told Reuters.

Two Mirage 2000 jets based in Africa were dispatched to try and locate the Air Algerie plane that disappeared on Thursday.” Gilles Jaron said. “They will search an area from its last known destination along its probable route, he added.

Watch news coverage of the missing Algeria plane here:

 


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