Air Algerie Plane Carrying 116 People 'Disappears' In Africa

| by Lisa Fogarty

An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people and traveling from Burkina Faso to Algeria vanished from the radar Thursday morning, reports Reuters.

Six crew members and 110 passengers were on board the Swiftair MD-83, reports the Daily News, and the airline lost track of the plane 50 minutes after it took off from Ouagadougou, which is the capital of Burkina Faso. The last contact the Algerian authorities reportedly had with pilots took place while the aircraft was flying over Gao, Mali at 1:55 a.m.

Similar to the warnings that pilots of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 were told about flying over the Ukraine, the Federal Aviation Administration reportedly advises operators not to fly over or out of Mali because of “insurgent activity.” Since 2012, when jihadist groups seized sections of north Mali, the political climate in the country has been unstable. The flight was scheduled to land at about 5 a.m. and the Daily Mail reports that it possibly took a detour over Mali because of “poor visibility” near the Algerian border.

The passengers reportedly included 50 French citizens and several Spanish nationals, including all six crew members.

A senior French official says he thinks it was “unlikely” that rebel fighters in Mali had weapons sophisticated enough to shoot down the plane.

A search is underway for the missing plane and its passengers. It is still unknown whether the aircraft is in Mali.


"I can confirm that it has crashed," the Algerian official told Reuters, declining to be identified or give any details about what had happened to the aircraft on its way north.

Sources: Reuters, Daily News, Daily Mail

Photo Credit: abdallahh/Flickr