Algiers, July 24 : An aircraft belonging to Algeria’s national airline, Air Algerie, with 119 people on board, disappeared early Thursday, 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou Airport in Burkina Faso, media reported. The plane was reported missing over the Malian region of Gao, some 500 km south of the Algerian border, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told reporters on the sidelines of a parliament session.
An updated statement from Air Algerie said there were 112 passengers and seven crew members on the missing plane, Xinhua reported citing Algeria’s state-run APS news agency. Air Algerie also confirmed that the missing aircraft was chartered from the Spanish Swiftair company. “The last radar contact with the plane occurred at 1.55 a.m. GMT while flying over the area of Gao in Mali,” Air Algerie said, adding that the aircraft took off from Ouagadougou at 1:17 a.m. GMT and was scheduled to arrive in Algiers at 5:11 a.m. GMT.
Algeria’s neighbour Mali is still grappling with sporadic rebel attacks in its northern area after a military coup led to an armed rebellion that was crushed in 2013 by French and African troops. “In accordance with these developments, the company launches the emergency response plan,” Air Algerie said. TSA, a local news website, said two emergency units have been set up by the airline, one in Algiers and the other one in Ouagadougou.
This incident comes a week after a Boeing 777 Malaysia Airlines passenger plane crashed over eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board.