By The Associated Press
UPDATE: The wreckage of flight AH5017 has been reportedly found.
Yet another flight, this time an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers, full of French passengers, has “gone missing“.
An Air Algerie flight with 110 passengers onboard, nearly half of them French citizens, crashed on Thursday after the jet disappeared over northern Mali en route from Burkina Faso to Algiers, an Algerian official said.
There were few clear indications of what might have happened to flight AH5017, or whether there were casualties, but Burkina Faso’s transport minister said the crew asked to adjust their route at 9.38 p.m. EDT because of a storm in the area.
“I can confirm that it has crashed,” the Algerian official told Reuters, declining to be identified or give any details about what had happened to the aircraft on its way north.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the Air Algerie flight was still missing, but had probably crashed. “Despite intensive search efforts no trace of the aircraft has yet been found,” Fabius told journalists in Paris. “The plane probably crashed.”
French President Francois Hollande – who is also a high-level member of the Bilderberg Group – canceled a visit to overseas territories and said that he would use France’s military to find the aircraft.
Two French Mirage warplanes have been scouring the vast desert area around the northern Malian city of Gao for the aircraft, which had 51 French nationals on board.
“The search will take as long as needed,” Hollande told reporters. “Everything must be done to find this plane. We cannot identify the causes of what happened,” he said.
…Algeria’s state news agency APS said authorities lost contact with flight an hour after it took off from Burkina Faso, but other officials gave differing accounts of the times of contact, adding to confusion about the plane’s fate.
Along with France, Niger’s security sources said planes were flying over the border region with Mali to look for the plane.
They might have a clue already ; An aid worker in Mali (who wants to remain anonymous, for some reason) had received several calls from residents in Tessalit and Tinzawaten in northeast Kidal after they heard a loud explosion. But they’re not sure if it was the plane crash the residents heard.
The interesting thing about Mali is that there just happened to be an Islamist revolt in early 2012 that somewhat succeeded in putting a “separatist rebels” faction (called the “Tuareg”) in power. But there are – you guessed it – “peace talks” that the Malian government is holding with the separatists in Algeria right now, and they are also in the awkward position of getting their aircraft and logistical support primarily from France and UN peacekeepers. Which means that if anyone in this situation shot down the plane, it was probably the Malian government, France, and NATO whose military had BUK missile capability, and not the separatists. Maybe they’ve seen how well the situation in the Ukraine has turned out for Kiev, and wanted to try it out for themselves.
An Algerian aviation official said the last contact Algerian authorities had with the missing Air Algerie aircraft was at 9.55 p.m. EDT when it was flying over Gao, Mali.
Burkina Faso officials said the flight asked the control center in Niamey, Niger, to change route at 9.38 p.m. EDT because of a storm in the Sahara.
An Air Algerie representative in Burkina Faso, Kara Terki, told a news conference that all the passengers on the plane were in transit, either for Europe, the Middle East or Canada.
Burkina Faso authorities said the passenger list comprised 27 Burkinabe, 51 French, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, two from Luxembourg, five Canadians, four Germans, one Cameroonian, one Belgian, one Egyptian, one Ukranian, one Swiss, one Nigerian and one Malian.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry said its embassy in Abidjan estimated the number of Lebanese citizens on the flight was at least 20. Some of these may have dual nationality.
A spokeswoman for SEPLA, Spain’s pilots union, said the six crew were from Spain. She could not give any further details.
They could end up saying it was just a terrible accident, or they could let out the mainstream media circus freaks to put on the spin. We’ll keep you updated if it’s the latter.
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