Air Algerie Plane Has Crashed: Official

Flight AH5017 went missing over Mali with 116 aboard

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jul 24, 2014 5:28 AM CDT | Updated Jul 24, 2014 8:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – A flight operated by Air Algerie and carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early today, and an Algerian aviation official now tells Reuters the plane has crashed, though no further details were given. Air navigation services lost track of the Swiftair MD-83 about 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 1:55am GMT (9:55pm Eastern last night), the official Algerian news agency says. That means that Flight 5017 had been missing for hours before the news was made public. Swiftair, a private Spanish airline, confirms it has not been possible to make contact with the plane.

Swiftair says the plane carrying 110 passengers and six crew left Burkina Faso for Algiers at 1:17am GMT today, but had not arrived at the scheduled time of 5:10am GMT. But, as Reuters puts it, conflicting information has been given about timing, "adding to confusion about the fate of the flight and where it might be." The plane was over Gao, Mali, when contact was lost, and a diplomat in Mali says there was a powerful sandstorm overnight in the north part of the country, over which the plane would likely have flown. The Burkina Faso transport minister says the flight asked to change course at 1:38am GMT because of a storm, according to Reuters.

Stranded passengers wait for a flight at Orly airport near Paris in this July 13, 2011, file photo during an Air Algerie strike.
Stranded passengers wait for a flight at Orly airport near Paris in this July 13, 2011, file photo during an Air Algerie strike.   (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
The logo of the Air Algerie company office, at the Opera avenue in Paris, Thursday, July 24, 2014.
The logo of the Air Algerie company office, at the Opera avenue in Paris, Thursday, July 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Passersby walk past the Air Algerie company office, on the Opera Avenue in Paris, Thursday, July 24, 2014.
Passersby walk past the Air Algerie company office, on the Opera Avenue in Paris, Thursday, July 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
A television camera operator mounts a satellite dish on top of a van outside the Swiftair offices in Madrid,  Spain, Thursday, July 24, 2014.
A television camera operator mounts a satellite dish on top of a van outside the Swiftair offices in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, July 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/Paul White)
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