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Friday, July 25, 2014, 18:42

Air Algerie jet's black box found, no survivors

By Xinhua

Air Algerie jet's black box found, no survivors

Paris - French President Francois Hollande said Friday there were no survivors of the crashed Air Algerie jetliner, and one of the aircraft's two black boxes has been found in the wreckage.

"Sadly, there were no survivors" of the flight AH5017 that went down in northern Mali, with 116 people aboard, including 51 French nationals, Hollande said in televised remarks.

A black box of the aircraft, retrieved by a French military unit, is being taken to the Malian city of Gao, he added.

A statement issued by the French president's office earlier on Friday said the wreckage of flight AH5017 - en route from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital Algiers - was found in Mali's Gao region, not far from the Burkina Faso border,

The 116 victims include six Spanish crew members, 51 French, 27 from Burkina Faso, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans, two Luxembourg nationals, one Swiss, one Belgian, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian, according to a statement from Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo.

 Air Algerie jet's black box found, no survivors
The logo of the Air Algerie company office, at the Opera avenue in Paris July 24, 2014. (Photo / AP)

The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 plane, owned by Spanish company Swiftair and operated by Air Algerie, disappeared over the Gao region, some 500 km south of the Algerian border, 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou Airport in Burkina Faso, according to Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal.

The pilots had sent a final message to ask Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rains, said Ouedraogo.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said authorities believed the cause of the crash may have been bad weather, but no hypothesis had been excluded.

Local weather reports show the area the plane was flying through was affected by "violent storms with powerful gusts of wind and an important amount of electrical activity."

Algerian Transport Minister Amar Ghoul said: "The aircraft had all regulation and technique permission to perform the long distance flight," adding that the aircraft had served in Algeria for over one month and had flown five times on the same course.

Algeria has witnessed more than ten plane crashes since its independence in 1962. The last deadliest crash occurred in March 2003, in which 97 passengers died and one survived when an Air Algerie plane crashed moments after taking off from Tamenrasset airport in southern Algeria.

The latest crash is the third major aviation disaster in a week worldwide. On July 17, a Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 777 airliner with 298 people on board crashed over eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, with no survivors. On Wednesday, an ATR-72 aircraft crashed in torrential rain in southwest Taiwan, killing 48 of 58 people on board.

Mali, where the crashed Air Algerie flight is found, has been grappling with sporadic rebel attacks in its northern area since an armed rebellion started by a military coup was crushed in 2013 by French and African troops.

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