Air Algerie flight AH5017 enroute from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers, has crashed in Niger. The plane, an MD83, was carrying 110 passengers and 6 crew members. All 116 are feared dead. Around 50 of the passengers on board were French nationals
The wreckage of the plane has, reportedly, been found in Gao near Northern Mali.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) July 24, 2014
Air Algerie said that it lost contact with its passenger aircraft about 50 minutes after take-off. The flight was supposed to be four hours long. Swiftair, the private Spanish company that owns the aircraft, confirmed it had lost contact with the MD-83 operated by Air Algerie. Two French fighter jets based in the region were dispatched to try locating the airliner along its probable route. The plane took off from Burkina Faso at 0117 local time and was supposed to land in Algiers at 0510 local time but never reached its destination. The plane was reportedly flying through an area affected by violent storms. An emergency search plan was initiated for the flight.
Major Aircraft Tragedies This Month
The incident is the latest in a line of aircraft crashes in the last few months. On 17 Jul, 2014 Malaysia Airline's MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by a ground-to-air missile and crashed in Shaktarsk, a rebel controlled region of Donetsk in Ukraine. The aircraft, a Boeing 777, had 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board. There were no survivors. The plane disappeared from the radar and teams from the emergency services were trying to reach the scene. Both Russia and Ukraine denied involvement in the crash, although pro-Russia separatists eventually admitted to hitting a plane in Kiev. Investigation of the crash is still underway. Read more
Four months earlier, Malaysia Airlines had lost another aircraft MH370 headed toward Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. The plane carrying 227 passengers including 5 Indians and 12 crew members, was missing for hours before being presumed to have crashed near the South China Sea. Despite extensive search for the wreckage, the plane was not found. Read more
Yesterday, TransAsia Airways flight GE222 heading from Kaohsiung to the island of Penghu in the Taiwan Strait, crashed near the runway yesterday as it attempted to land for the second time. The plane was carrying 54 passengers and 4 crew. The plane caught fire as it crashed and 48 people were killed. Bad weather seemed to have played a big role as Typhoon Matmo had hit the island hours before the crash. Read more
— 5SOS IMAGINES (@Imaginesof5SOS) July 24, 2014
Not another one! | Air Algerie flight AH5017 crashes http://t.co/YlFnASSysA
— Navjosh / HHNM (@Navjosh) July 24, 2014
very sad news about ANOTHER air disaster in a space of a week, RIP to the passengers of the Air Algerie flight...
— Swami Baracus (@SwamiBaracus) July 24, 2014
The Wall Street Journal reports "Accident rates in Africa are typically higher than in the rest of the world as the continent struggles with poor infrastructure that has made flying there more difficult. The International Air Transport Association said there were 61 accidents in the region between 2009 and 2013. The accident rate during the period was 13.47 crashes per million flight hours in Africa compared with the global average of 2.51 crashes."
According to The Independant, Algerian News Agency has put out a list of the nationalities of the passengers "The list of passengers includes 51 French, 27 Burkina Faso nationals, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Belgium, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo reportedly said. However, AFP is reporting that "at least 20" passengers were Lebanese. The six crew members are Spanish, according to the Spanish pilots' union"
Reuters says, the crashed aircraft was 18 years old. "U.S. planemaker McDonnell Douglas, now part of Boeing , stopped producing the MD-80 airliner family in 1999 but it remains in widespread use. According to British consultancy Flightglobal Ascend, there are 482 MD-80 aircraft in operation, many of them in the United States... Air Algerie's last major accident was in 2003 when one of its planes crashed shortly after take-off from the southern city of Tamanrasset, killing 102 people. In February this year, 77 people died when an Algerian military transport plane crashed into a mountain in eastern Algeria."