The wreckage of an Air Algérie plane that disappeared Thursday with 116 people on board on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algeria has been found in Mali , according to French officials.
The French president’s office said that troops were on their way to
secure the site, about 50km (30 miles) from the Burkina Faso
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane early on Thursday
after pilots reported severe storms.
The passengers on the Air Algerie flight included 51 French
The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 – Flight AH 5017 – had been
chartered from Spanish airline Swiftair.
President Francois Hollande expressed solidarity with the friends
and families of those on board.
“A French military unit has been sent to (the area) to secure the
site and gather evidence,” his office said in a statement.
The statement went on to say that the plane had “disintegrated”,
without giving further details.
The crash site was identified on Thursday by the Burkina Faso
“At the moment we have no further information on (the fate of) the
passengers but our teams are hard at work” said Gilbert Diendere,
a Burkina Faso army general.
Gen Diendere said Mali had agreed to their cross-border search
which was launched after a resident in Gossi described seeing a
plane go down to the south-west of the town.
“They found human remains and the wreckage of the plane totally
burnt and scattered,” he told the Associated Press news agency.
Malian state television confirmed that the wreckage was found in
the village of Boulikessi by a helicopter from Burkina Faso.
French fighter jets and UN helicopters had been hunting for the
wreck in the more remote desert region of northern Mali between
Gao and Tessalit.
Contact with Flight AH 5017 was lost about 50 minutes after take-
off from Ouagadougou early on Thursday morning, Air Algerie
The pilot had contacted Niger’s control tower in Niamey at around
01:30 GMT to change course because of a sandstorm, officials
Burkina Faso authorities said the passenger list comprised 27
people from Burkina Faso, 51 French, eight Lebanese, six
Algerians, two from Luxembourg, five Canadians, four Germans,
one Cameroonian, one Belgian, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one
Swiss, one Nigerian and one Malian.