The French President, Francois Hollande has said there are no survivors from the 116 passengers and crew on Air Algerie flight AH5017 that crashed in Mali during the early hours of Thursday July 24. Air traffic control had lost contact with the MD-83 airliner about 50 minutes after it departed Burkina Faso’s capital, Ougadougou, bound for Algiers. A team of around 100 French soldiers arrived at the crash site near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso to discover the aircraft, chartered from Spanish airline, Swiftair, had been totally destroyed.
A statement from Mr Hollande said one flight data recorder had been recovered and the French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, told the French radio network RTL: “We think the aircraft crashed for reasons linked to the weather conditions, although no theory can be excluded at this point,” he said.
An Air Algerie spokesman said the pilot had contacted Niger’s control tower in Niamey at around 0130 GMT to change course because of a sandstorm. No further contact was received.