Nearly one week after the bizarre and controversial downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, another passenger jet disappeared from air traffic control radar over Saharan Africa, en route from Burkinafaso to Algiers. This last hour, authorities can confirm that Flight AH5017 has now been located in southern Mali, approximately 30km from the Burkinafaso border.
“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, flight AH5017.”
Speculation varies as to what may have caused the downed airliner, although analysts are pointing to a storm as the reason for the crash. Certainly, worries of foul play are at the forefront of everyone’s mind following the MH17 disaster that may have opened once-healed Cold War scars between the US and Russia.
Wreckage, remains from missing Air Algerie flight AH5017 reported found in Mali
Wreckage and remains from Air Algerie flight AH5017 has been found in northern Mali several hours after the plane carrying116 people crashed in that region, a Burkina Faso official told the Associated Press.
“We sent men with the agreement of the Mali government to the site and they found the wreckage of the plane with the help of the inhabitants of the area,” said Gen. Gilbert Diendere, a close aide to president Blaise Compaore and head of the crisis committee set up to investigate the flight
“They found human remains and the wreckage of the plane totally burnt and scattered,” he said.
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita reported similar findings to Reuters, saying wreckage of the flight had been spotted toward the Algerian border between the towns of Aguelhoc and Kidal.
Meanwhile French President Francois Hollande disputed reports that the plane had been found at all, according to NBC.
“No trace of plane has been found yet. All efforts will be used to find this plane. I have mobilized all our military in this area,” Hollande told reporters.
It remains unclear what caused the crash, but inclement weather is suspected. 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. The four-hour flight was scheduled to arrive in Algiers at 5:40 a.m. local time.
• Agence France-Presse reported 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.”
• Gen. Gilbert Diendiere, head of an emergency response unit in Ouagadougou, told AFP that a witness saw the plane “falling” in the Gossi region of northern Mali. “We are in contact with the witness and we intend to survey the site,” Diendiere said.
• Burkino Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedrago told Reuters the aircraft was asked to change its route because of a storm in the area. There were powerful thunderstorms in the region around the time the plane went missing…
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