Air Algerie Aircraft Crashes in Mali

The wreckage of an Air Algerie aircraft carrying 110 passengers and six crew on board has been found in Tilemsi, a remote area of Mali. The MD-83 aircraft was travelling from Burkina Faso to Algiers when it lost contact with air traffic control nearly fifty minutes after take off.

Image Source: Daily Mail
According to Algerian news agencies, the aircraft was last tracked on radar at approximately 1:55am GMT. The flight was due to land at 5:00am GMT in the Algerian capital. Early reports indicate that several French and Lebanese passengers were on board the aircraft. 

The aircraft, operating as flight AH5017, departed Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, bound for Algiers on a flight path that still remains unclear. Sources from Air Algerie reported that contact with the aircraft was lost over Mali, nearing the border of Algeria. 

The United States Federal Aviation Administration recently issued a warning to all US carriers that Mali was a "high risk" area for commercial air travel given the on-going civil war in the country. According to sources, the aircraft was approaching the Algerian frontier when the crew was asked to detour due to poor visibility and to prevent the risk of a collision with another aircraft travelling between Algiers and Bamako. 

It was after the change of course that contact with the aircraft was lost. Officials from France dismissed the possibility that fighters in Mali may have shot down the plane citing that they lacked the weaponry necessary for such an attack. However, a diplomat based in Mali stated that the northern portion of the country that lies on the aircraft's flight path was hit by a powerful sandstorm overnight. 

The Head of Mali's National Civil Aviation Agency, Issa Saly Maiga, reported that a search is already under way for the missing aircraft. "We do not know if the plane is in Malian territory," said Maiga. "Aviation authorities are mobilised in all the countries concerned - Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Algeria, and even Spain."

Image Source: Daily Mail
The aircraft involved in the incident is owned by Spanish carrier Swiftair and is currently on lease to Air Algerie. The four hour route between the capitals of Burkina Faso and Algeria is flown four times per week. 

The news of the Air Algerie aircraft disappearance comes after a recent string of incidents involving commercial aircraft that has claimed the lives of hundreds of victims. Last week, a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft was shot down over Ukranian air space and just yesterday, a TransAsia Airways ATR turboprop aircraft crashed during bad weather while trying to land on the island of Penghu, off the western coast of Taiwan.

The Air Algerie aircraft was not the first to disappear this year. Earlier this year, a Malaysian Airlines aircraft travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing lost contact with air traffic controllers and disappeared without a trace. The aircraft is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean but the wreckage has still not been located. 

Source: Daily Mail

2 comments:

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