An Air Algerie plane carrying 116 passengers lost contact with air traffic controllers about an hour after leaving Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso late Wednesday evening.
Air Algerie Flight AH5017 was supposed to land in Algiers at about 5:00 a.m. The jet, a chartered Swiss Air, was told to make a detour short of the Algerian border due to poor visibility, according to one source.
At the time of its disappearance the flight would have been over Mali, a nation under a threat warning from the Federal Aviation Administration due to insurgent fighting. The FAA has warned that flying below 20,000 feet leaves jets vulnerable to rocket fire. However, one source told the Associated Press that Mali rebels lacked the sophisticated weaponry to shoot down an airliner. (The same was said about Ukrainian separatists after the downing of MH17.)
UPDATE 10:02 a.m. EDT: Reuters quoted an Algerian official as saying, “I can confirm that it has crashed,” though no additional details were given. Burkino Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedrago confirmed that the flight had been asked to change course due to bad weather.
UPDATE 11:12 a.m. EDT: Reports now indicate plane wreckage has been found in Mali; no word yet on casualties.
UPDATE 10:35 p.m. EDT: The office of the President of France confirmed tonight that the wreckage has been located in Mali.
[h/t NBC News]
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