Air Al­gerie plane miss­ing over Mali

The Political and Business Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

An Air Al­gerie plane on Thurs­day with around 120 peo­ple on board went miss­ing dur­ing a flight from Burk­ina Faso to Al­giers, com­pany sources and officials said. The air­craft was a McDon­nell Dou­glas MD-83 leased from Span­ish com­pany Swif­tair.

ANAir Al­gerie plane with around 120 peo­ple on board in­clud­ing French and Span­ish na­tion­als went miss­ing to­day dur­ing a flight from Burk­ina Faso to Al­giers, com­pany sources and officials said.

Avi­a­tion sources told AFP the air­craft was a McDon­nell Dou­glas MD83 leased from Span­ish com­pany Swif­tair car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties.

Its six-mem­ber crew were all Span­ish, said Spain's air­line pi­lots' union Se­pla, while Swif­tair con­firmed the air­craft had gone miss­ing less than an hour af­ter take­off from Oua­gadougou.

Many French na­tion­als were thought to be on board the plane, France's Trans­port Min­is­ter Fred­eric Cuvil­lier said in Paris.

He said af­ter a govern­ment meet­ing that top civil avi­a­tion officials were hold­ing an emer­gency meet­ing and a cri­sis cell had been set up.

Ear­lier re­ports had said the plane was a DC-9.

"The plane dis­ap­peared at Gao (in Mali), 500 kilo­me­tres (300 miles) from the Al­ge­rian border. Sev­eral na­tion­al­i­ties are among the vic­tims," Prime Min­is­ter Ab­del­malek Sel­lal was cited as say­ing by Al­ge­rian ra­dio.

The Air Al­gerie source ear­lier said con­tact was lost while the air­liner was still in Malian airspace and ap­proach­ing the border with Al­ge­ria.

De­spite in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion still un­der way, the sit­u­a­tion re­mains un­sta­ble in north­ern Mali, which was seized by ji­hadist groups for sev­eral months in 2012.

On July 17, the Ba­mako govern­ment and armed groups from north­ern Mali launched tough talks in Al­giers aimed at se­cur­ing an elu­sive peace deal, and with parts of the coun­try still mired in con­flict.

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