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Wreckage Of Air Algerie Flight With 116 Aboard Found In Mali

Updated at 10:05 p.m. ET.

The Air Algerie MD-83 en route from the capital of Burkina Faso to Algiers with 116 passengers and crew aboard has been found with no survivors.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, reporting for our Newscast team, that a presidential aide in neighboring Burkina Faso says the remains of the missing aircraft have been found just across the border in Mali, in an isolated area about 60 miles south of the town of Gao.

Gen. Gilbert Diendere, who is heading the crisis committee set up by Burkina to investigate the crash, says with Malian government agreement, and local assistance, rescuers found the burned out plane and human remains.

There had been reports of stormy weather, heavy rain and poor visibility.

Al-Jazeera says the airplane is operated by Air Algerie and owned by the Spanish private company Swiftair.

The authorities said they'd lost contact with the airplane traveling from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers, Reuters reports, citing the Algerian state news agency.

Reuters adds:

"APS said authorities lost contact with flight AH 5017 an hour after it took off from Burkina Faso.

"Spanish private airline company Swiftair confirmed it had no contact with its MD-83 aircraft operated by Air Algerie, which it said was carrying 110 passengers and six crew. An Algerian official had earlier said it was an Airbus A320."

In a statement, Swiftair said the flight took off at 9:17 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and was supposed to arrive shortly after 1 a.m. ET. on Thursday.

"There is at this moment no contact with the aircraft," Swiftair said.

Of course, this incident comes about a week afterMalaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine and a day after a Transasia Airways plane crash-landed in Taiwan, killing dozens of passengers.

This is a developing news story. We'll update when we know more.

Update at 10:10 a.m. ET. Passenger List:

Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo says the list of passengers aboard the aircraft includes 51 French citizens, 27 from Burkina Faso, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans, two from Luxemburg and one passenger each from Switzerland, Belgium, Egypt, Ukraine, Nigeria, Cameroon and Mali. The six crew are listed as Spanish, he says.

Update at 8:10 a.m. ET. Poor Visibility:

Quoting an unnamed Air Algerie source, the French wire service Agence France-Presse reports that the plane went missing after authorities asked it to change course.

"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," the Air Algerie source tells AFP. "Contact was lost after the change of course."

The AP reports that the French transport minister told reporters the flight disappeared over Mali.

As we've reported, Mali, with help from the French, has been fighting against Islamist rebels.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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