Friday, October 31, 2014

Five Canadians on missing plane

ALGIERS, Algeria—An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria’s capital disappeared from radar early today over northern Mali and “probably crashed,” according to the plane’s owner and government officials in France and Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso’s transport minister said five Canadians were among those on board.

Air navigation services lost track of the MD-83 about 50 minutes after take-off from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 9:55 p.m. (EDT) yesterday, the official Algerian news agency APS said.
French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius said Air Algerie Flight 5017 had “probably crashed.”
Fabius said “no trace” of the plane had been found.
Two French fighter jets are among aircraft scouring the rugged north of Mali for the plane.
More than 50 French citizens were on board the plane, along with 27 Burkina Faso nationals and passengers from a dozen other countries.
The flight crew was Spanish.
The flight was being operated by Spanish airline Swiftair, the company said in a statement.
Tweets from the account of Lynne Yelich, Canada’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said the government is aware of the reports of Canadians on board and that they are seeking more information.
But it added consular officials are ready to provide assistance.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those on board Air Algerie Flight AAH 5017,” one of the tweets said.
The plane sent its last message around 9:30 p.m. (EDT), asking Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rains in the area, Burkina Faso Transport minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said.
The plane had been missing for hours before the news was made public.
It wasn’t immediately clear why airline or government officials didn’t make it public earlier.
The flight path of the plane from Ouagadougou to Algiers wasn’t immediately clear.
Ouagadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers—passing over Mali, where unrest continues in the north.
The disappearance of the Air Algerie plane comes after a spate of aviation disasters.
Fliers around the globe have been on edge ever since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March on its way to Beijing.
Searchers have yet to find a single piece of wreckage from the jet with 239 people on board.
Last week, a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while flying over a war-torn section of Ukraine.
Nothing indicates the jet was the target but two back-to-back disasters involving Boeing 777s flown by the same airline was too much of a coincidence for many fliers.
Then this week, U.S. and European airlines started cancelling flights to Tel Aviv after a rocket landed near the city’s airport.
And yesterday, a Taiwanese plane crashed during a storm, killing 48 people.

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