LONDON – The Algiers-bound flight that went missing on Thursday has crashed, an Algerian aviation official told Reuters news agency.
The Air Algerie flight, with 116 people on board, took off from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and was to have arrived in Algeria’s capital.
Flight 5017 lost radar contact 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, early Thursday. It was supposed to arrive at Algiers’ Houari Boumediene Airport about four hours later.
The plane, an MD-83, was carrying 110 passengers, two pilots and four crew members. The MD-83 is part of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 family of twin-engine, single-aisle jets.
The plane belongs to a private Spanish company, Swiftair, but it appears to have been operated by Air Algerie.
“We have lost contact with the plane,” Swiftair said.
“At this moment, emergency services and our staff are working on finding out more on this situation.”
Air Algerie said via Twitter, “Unfortunately, for the moment we have no more information than you do. We will give you the latest news live.”
The tweet appears since to have been deleted.
France is actively seeking more information about the location of the missing flight, following unconfirmed reports that many French citizens may have been on board.
“We are entirely mobilized in Paris as well as in Algiers and Ouagadougou where our embassies are in constant contact with local authorities and the airline,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that a hotline number has been established.
Air Algerie is Algeria’s national airline, with flights to 28 countries.
The deadliest incident in the airline’s history occurred in March 2003 when a domestic flight crashed after takeoff, killing 102 people on board. One person survived.
In February, a Hercules C-130 military aircraft crashed in the mountains of eastern Algeria, killing 77 of the 78 people on board.
The MD-83′s disappearance comes exactly a week after a Malaysia Airlines plane was brought down in Ukraine with 298 people on board.