VIDEO: AIR ALGERIE PLANE CRASHES WITH 116 ON BOARD AFTER GOING MISSING OVER MALI

 05:35 PM: France's transport minister says the Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people vanished over northern Mali.
05:25 PM: Air Algerie representative in Burkina Faso says passenger list on plane includes 50 French.An Air Algerie plane en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers and six crew members on board crashed into the Niger, reports said.Authorities have lost contact with an Air Algerie flight en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board, Algeria's APS state news agency and a Spanish airline company said on Thursday.


APS said authorities lost contact with flight AH 5017 an hour after it took off from Burkina Faso, although other officials gave other timings, adding to confusion about the fate of the flight and where it might be.Spanish private airline company Swiftair confirmed it had no contact with its MD-83 aircraft operated by Air Algerie, which it said was carrying 110 passengers and six crew.Actuellement nous n'avons aucune nouvelles du VolAH5017. Merci



- Air Algerie (@Air_Algerie) July 24, 2014
Translation: "Currently we have no news of VolAH5017. Thank you"
The company said in a notice posted on its website that the aircraft 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 .

14.18 A fuller passenger list has been published by official Algerian news agency APS.
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.
14.14 Fiona Govan reports from Madrid, Spain with the latest on the fate of AH5017, which was owned and staffed by the Spanish firm Swiftair:
 Swiftair confirmed that the two pilots and four cabin crew are all Spanish, and said that contact had been lost with the plane 50 minutes after it took off from Burkina Faso this morning for Algiers.
The company said it was trying to establish the nationalities of those on board and were coordinating with the Spanish foreign ministry.
"At this moment we have emergency teams and company personnel working ‎to establish what happened and as soon as we know more details we will release new statements," it said in a statement, according to Spanish websites.
According to Algeria media reserves of kerosene on the plane could have run out after an hour.
Spain's ministry for development and transport ‎has called a crisis cabinet and is in touch with the company and authorities in Burkino Faso, Mali and Algeria.
Jose Manuel Margallo, Spain's foreign minister described the situation as "confusing" and is in touch with his Algerian counterpart Ramatane Lamama, as well as the Spanish prime minister.
Speaking on an office visit to Tunisia he said "the situation is very confused."
14.11 "I can confirm that it has crashed," the unnamed Algerian official who spoke to Reuters has said, declining to give details of where the plane was or what caused the accident.
13.57 An Algerian aviation official has told Reuters the plane has crashed.
No more details are currently available on the location, but Niger security sources say planes are flying over its border with Mali to search for the plane.
13.51 Swiftair, which owned and staffed the plane, has a relatively clean safety record, with five accidents since 1977, two of which caused a total of eight deaths, according to the Washington-based Flight Safety Foundation.
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.
13.45 French fighter jets based in the region have been dispatched to try to locate the missing plane, French army spokesman Gilles Jaron has said.
QuoteTwo Mirage 2000 jets based in Africa were dispatched to try to locate the Air Algerie plane that disappeared on Thursday.
They will search an area from its last known destination along its probable route.
13.42 David Millward explains why a Spanish-owned plane was being operated by an Algerian airline:
 The aircraft was "wet leased" by Air Algerie from Swiftair [a Spanish airline company], which supplied both aircraft and crew. The practice of wet leasing is common in the industry. British Airways wet-leased a number of aircraft during the 2010 cabin crew dispute to maintain services.
13.30 There may have been as many as 80 French passengers on board AH5017, "airport sources" in Algeria have told EFE.
13.25 The Telegraph's David Millward, former transport editor, has been following events from the US:
 David Soucie, a former investigator with the Federal Aviation Administration, has told CNN: “There is no reason to think there is anything mechanically wrong with the plane. There is some reason that it flew over restricted airspace.”
Speaking on CNN he adds that field could have been an issue when the pilot had to make a decision what route should be taken to avoid the storm.
13.19 Mike Pflanz reports for The Telegraph from Nairobi:
 A European diplomat in Ouagadougou said that there was limited information available from the country's civil aviation authorities, but that he had been briefed that the aircraft left Burkina Faso airspace and had continued as planned over Malian territory.
There were reportedly many French citizens on the flight, which was likely to be routed over territory that was in the hands of al-Qaeda's affiliates in northern Mali until France intervened to push them out in 2013.
Despite this, the European diplomat said that there was no suggestion he had heard that the aircraft could have been specifically targeted by anti-French Islamist forces from the ground.
13.07 Amid conflicting reports about the missing plane's movements, here is a roundup of what we have heard so far.
- Flight AH5017 set off from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, toward Algiers, Algeria, at 0117 local time [02.17am UK time].
- It flew northward, into Mali airspace.
- Burkina Faso air traffic control handed over to the control tower in Niamey, Niger, just across the border from Mali, at 1:38am local time [02.38 UK time].
- At around this time AH5017 was asked to change route because of a storm.
- The last contact Algerian authorities had with the missing Air Algerie aircraft was at 01.55am [02.55am UK time] when it was flying over Gao, Mali.
- Niger air traffic controllers have reportedly said their said last contact with the flight was just after 4:30am local time (04.30am UK), suggesting it may have entered Niger air space, though this is yet unconfirmed
12.58 Burkina Faso authorities have set up a crisis unit in Ouagadougou airport to provide information to families of people on the flight, reportsReuters.
QuoteA diplomat in the Malian capital Bamako said that the north of the country - which lies on the plane's likely flight path - was struck by a powerful sandstorm overnight.
Issa Saly Maiga, head of Mali's National Civil Aviation Agency, said that a search was under way for the missing flight.
"We do not know if the plane is Malian territory," he told Reuters. "Aviation authorities are mobilised in all the countries concerned - Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Algeria and even Spain."
12.56 The Air Algerie flight disappeared over northern Mali, France's transport minister has confirmed.
12.54 Fifty French people were on board according the plane's passenger list, an Air Algerie representative in Burkina Faso has toldReuters.
12.51 The missing Air Algerie flight AH5017 was asked to change route at 01.38 (02.38 UK time) because of a storm, the Burkina Faso transport minister has said.
However, it has also been reported that air traffic controllers in both Algerian and Niger had contact with it later.
12.42 "There were likely French people on board, and if there were French people on board there were certainly many of them," Frederic Cuvillier, France's transport minister, has told reporters.
12.33 The first details on the 110 passengers on board flight AH5017 - the French transport minister has said that "likely many" French citizens would have been on board the flight, which has disappeared.
12.28 More details are emerging of the final minutes of contact with the plane.
An Algerian aviation official has told Reuters that the last contact Algerian authorities had with the missing Air Algerie aircraft was at 0155 GMT (02.55am UK time) when it was flying over Gao, Mali.
Aviation authorities in Burkina Faso say they handed the flight to the control tower in Niamey, Niger, at 1:38am local time (02.38 UK time). They said last contact with the flight was just after 4:30am local time (04.30 UK).
12.22 More reports are emerging that the flight was asked to change course midflight in order to avoid the path of another plane, again unconfirmed.
12.19 Chinese state television is now reporting that the plane has crashed in Niger. It has not yet been possible to verify this information.
12.07 This map, based on information from the Federal Aviation Administration and International Civil Aviation Organisation, depicts how Mali is considered by US airlines to be one of the world's "high risk" flight zones.
Burkina Faso is the country directly south of Mali - Algeria is directly north of the country.
11.58 Following early reports of poor visibility, Mali is at the end of its dry season, during which the harmattan, a dry, hot wind that blows from the east out of the Sahara, "sweeps the soil into dusty whirlwinds and is accompanied by daytime temperatures of about 104 to 113 °F (40 to 45 °C)", accoridng to Encyclopaedia Britannica.
The weather in Mali today is described as "mostly cloudy".
11.48 Air Algerie has confirmed via its Twitter feed that contact was lost 50 minutes into the flight, and has provided a crisis contact.
The tweet translates as "The aircraft took off at 1:55. 50 minutes after we have not heard from the aircraft. Spanish plane Crisis Staff@AeroportAlger"
11.46 Flight AH5017 was in Malian air space approaching the border with Algeria when contact was lost, a source from Air Algerie has reportedly told AFP.
QuoteThe plane was not far from the Algerian frontier when the crew was asked to make a detour because of poor visibility and to prevent the risk of collision with another aircraft on the Algiers-Bamako route.
Contact was lost after the change of course.
11.35 Air Algerie has tweeted the following message, which translates to "Currently we have no news of VolAH5017. Thank you"
11.32 The missing airplane is owned by Spanish private airline Swiftair, and operated by Air Algerie, according to Reuters:
QuoteSpanish private airline company Swiftair on Thursday said it had lost contact with one of its airplane operated by Air Algerie with 110 passengers and six crew members on board.
The company said in a notice posted on its website that the aircraft took off from Burkina Faso at 0117 local time [02.17am UK time] and was supposed to land in Algiers at 0510 local time but never reached its destination.
11.27 Mali - the shortest flight path for AH5017 - is currently considered a "high risk" flight zone by US airlines, according to this Wall Street Journal graphic.
However, a senior French official has told AP it is unlikely that fighters in Mali had weaponry that could shoot down a plane:
QuoteThe official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak for attribution, said the fights have shoulder-fired weapons which could not hit an aircraft at cruising altitude.

General view of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso (NEIL COOPER/ALAMY)
11.25 Contact was lost with the plane some time after 01.55GMT (02.55 UK), according the official Algerian news agency.
"In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan," the agency quoted the airline as saying.
11.22 The flight code was AH5017, according to AP, and originated in the Burkina Faso capital city of Ouagadougou.
QuoteOugadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.
11.16 Air Algerie is the national airline of Algeria, flying to 28 countries including the United Kingdom.
It is not yet clear what route the plane was taking when it went missing, but would most likely have been flying over either Mali or Niger.
11.10 A plane carrying 110 passengers from Burkina Faso to Algeria has gone missing, according to reports. The plane was an Air Algerie aircraft, and lost contact with air traffic controllers 50 minutes after takeoff.

STORY BY: ANDREW MARSZAL

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