Monday, 23 July, 2018

257 dead in military plane crash

More than 250 killed in Algerian military plane crashMore More than 250 killed in Algerian military plane crashMore
Andrew Cummings | 12 April, 2018, 07:24

Most of those on board were army members and their families, it said.

Bits of mangled and smouldering debris were scattered across the field near Boufarik airport southwest of Algiers where people were searching for bodies among the rubble.

A military transport aircraft crashed near Algeria's Boufarik Air Base on Wednesday morning, killing at least 257 people, according to Algeria's defense ministry.

Shocked onlookers told Algerian television network Ennahar they saw flames coming from the plane's engines before take off, ABC reported.

Dozens of firefighters, rescue workers and military officials worked around the blackened fuselage of the aircraft, which had been ripped open near its wings.

Algerian army officials have ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash and plan to visit the scene.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has decreed a three-day national mourning, according to a statement from the President's Office.

"The president also ordered a prayer on Friday in memory of the victims", it added.

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The Polisario Front, which is seeking independence for the territory and is backed by Algeria, says 30 Western Saharans, including women and children, died. Smoke was still billowing hours after the crash.

Around 100 military personnel were on board the Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane, a military source told AFP, asking not to be named.

Four years ago, another plane carrying military personnel and family members crashed in Algeria, killing 77 people.

BC-US-Small Plane Crash, 130 Police release names of 6 killed in Arizona plane crashAP Photo AZRF101, AZRF102Eds: APNewsNow.

According to the plane manufacturer's website, the IL-76, a four-engine plane built in the Soviet Union and then Russian Federation, can transport between 126 and 225 passengers depending on the model and configuration.

An Air Algerie passenger plane flying from Burkina Faso to Algiers crashed in northern Mali in July 2014, killing all 116 people on board including 54 French nationals.

The North African country has suffered a string of military and civilian aviation disasters but Wednesday's was Algeria's deadliest ever plane crash and the world's fourth costliest in human lives in 20 years.

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