Air Algerie flight AH5017 crashes: Official
Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News By Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
3 minutes ago
Air Algerie flight AH5017, en route from Burkina Faso to Algiers and carrying 110 people, has crashed, an Algerian aviation official told Reuters.
"I can confirm that it has crashed," the official said, declining to give details of where the plane was or what caused the accident.
Here is what we know so far:
• Swiftair, the Spanish airline operated by Air Algerie, said it lost contact with MD83 aircraft — with 110 passengers and six crew members — about 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of the west African nation.
• Agence France-Press reports 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."
• Weather officials said northern Mali was hit with a powerful sandstorm overnight.
• An airline source told AFP that contact with the aircraft was lost while it was over Mali, considered a "high risk" flight zone for U.S. airlines. But a senior French official told Associated Press that it is unlikely shoulder-fired weapons used by fighters in northern Mali could shoot down an aircraft at cruising altitude.
• Issa Saly Maiga, head of Mali's National Civil Aviation Agency, said that a search was under way for the missing flight. "We do not know if the plane is Malian territory," Maiga told Reuters. "Aviation authorities are mobilized in all the countries concerned: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Algeria and even Spain."
• There are reports that the plane crashed in Niger.