Algeria announces 3 days of mourning after military plane crash

Nettie James
April 13, 2018

Ennahar TV said that 26 people of them were members of Polisario Front, West Sahara's separatist movement.

ALGIERS, Algeria A hulking military transport plane crashed just after take-off today in the worst aviation disaster in Algeria's history, killing 257 people and plunging a nation where soldiers are especially esteemed into mourning.

TV footage showed thick black smoke emanating from the burning plane.

The cause of the crash is unclear and an investigation is underway.

An Algerian military plane is seen after crashing near an airport outside the capital, Algiers, on April 11, 2018, in this still image taken from a video.

Previous major air accidents in Algeria include an Air Algerie flight that crashed in northern Mali in July 2014 carrying 116 passengers and crew, almost half of them French, en route from Burkina Faso to Algeria.

Back in 2012 December, two military jets also collided mid-air while they were on a routine training operations close to Tlemcen, in Algeria's northwest and the pilots of both the planes were found dead.

The plane was scheduled to stop in the remote town of Tindouf along the Moroccan border, the site of sprawling refugee camps for Western Saharans who have fled their decades-old conflict with Morocco.

Victims come from across the vast North African country, including the capital Algiers, where tens of people gathered outside the home of Seddiki Mehre, the plane's co-pilot. Victims' bodies have been transported to the Algerian army's central hospital to be identified.

Investigators have not confirmed yet if Pedroza, who purchased the plane in February, was piloting the aircraft when it crashed.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika ordered three days of mourning, while former colonial power France, the United States, Russia and other countries expressed their condolences, a statement said.

Witnesses say they saw a wing catch fire as the plane took off.

Most merchants near the airbase remained closed for business in a mark of respect for the dead and their families.

In 2014, a military transport plane slammed into a mountain in Algeria's rugged eastern region, killing 77 people on board.

Other reports by Insurance News

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