Air Algerie Flight AH5017 crashed in Mali desert while en route to Algiers

World Today

Air Algerie Flight AH5017 crashes while en route to Algiers An official shows on a map an area where an Air Algerie plane is supposed to have gone missing, on July 24, 2014 in Ouagadougou. (Photo: AFP/Ahmed Ouoba)

Flight AH5017 was headed to the Algerian capital of Algiers from Burkina Faso but lost contact about 50 minutes after takeoff. The head of Burkina Faso’s crisis unit says his team has found the wreckage near the Malian town of Gossi. Jack Parrock reports.

Air Algerie Flight AH5017 crashes while en route to Algiers

Flight AH5017 from Burkina Faso was headed to the Algerian capital of Algiers but lost contact about 50 minutes after takeoff. The head of Burkina Faso's crisis unit says his team has found the wreckage near the Malian town of Gossi. Jack Parrock reports.

While the exact reason for the crash has yet to become clear, a strong suspicion is that the plane hit trouble while flying though a sandstorm.

French President Francois Hollande assured that his government would do everything possible to recover the plane.

“All means will be mobilized to find this aircraft and to give the families all the information that they are asking for and our solidarity, which is total and that of the whole country,” Hollande said.

France has about 1,700 troops on the ground in Mali, a country ravaged by civil war. At its height, around 4,000 French troops were deployed in Mali as part of Operation Serval, a mission approved in December 2012 to help end the conflict in the country.

Coming just a week after the downing of MH17 over Eastern Ukraine, there has been some speculation that militias in Mali could be to blame. However, experts say that’s unlikely.

“There is an ongoing conflict in Northern Mali, but by all estimates the rebel groups down there, extremist groups, just don’t have the capacities to launch surface-to-air missiles like we see out of eastern Ukraine,” said Dr. Joseph Siegel, Director of Research at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

Flight AH5017 is the third airline tragedy in just a week, raising questions about aviation safety. Michael Planey, a consultant with a firm that specializes in airline issues, joined the show.

Michael Planey talks aviation safety

Flight AH5017 is the third airline tragedy in just a week, raising questions about aviation safety. Michael Planey is a consultant with H-M Planey, a firm specializing in airline issues.