Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site

World Today

Air Algeria AH5017 crash site The French army posted photos on July 25 showing the site of the crash of an Algeria passenger plane that was reported missing in Mali the previous day. Air Algeria AH5017 disappeared on July 24, carrying 118 people from Oaugadougou, in Burkina Faso, to Algiers. PHOTO/Facebook/Armée française – opérations militaires OPEX (page officielle)

French soldiers secured one of the black boxes from the Air Algerie Flight AH5017 wreckage site in a desolate region of northern Mali on Friday, French President Francois Hollande said. Terrorism hasn’t been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason for the catastrophe that killed all onboard was bad weather.

The final passenger manifest lists 118 were onboard, an upward revision from earlier estimates that 116 were killed. Nearly half of the passengers were French.

One of two black boxes was recovered from the wreckage in the Gossi region of Mali near the border with Burkina Faso. It was taken to the northern city of Gao, where a French contingent is based, Hollande told reporters after an emergency meeting with government ministers. A team of French air accident investigators was being sent to Mali, he added.

“There are, alas, no survivors,” Hollande said. “I share the pain of families living through this terrible ordeal.”

Footage of crash site

Air Algerie Flight AH5017 crash site

French soldiers secured one of the black boxs from the Air Algerie Flight AH5017 wreckage site in a desolate region of northern Mali on Friday, French President Francois Hollande said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason for the catastrophe that killed all onboard was bad weather.

Translated interview:

(01:06-01:34) General Gilbert Diendjere, Army Chief of Staff to Burkinabe Presidency:
“Regarding the bodies, it’s really difficult because the bodies are spread all over. In my opinion it will be very, very difficult to find all the bodies.”

Burkina soldiers were reportedly the first to reach the site, apparently Thursday evening, and the images were viewed at the Burkina Faso crisis center. Burkina Faso Prime Minister Luc Adolphe Tiao reviewed videos of the wreckage site and said identifying the victims would be challenging.

An arrival information screen shows the delayed Air Algerie flight 5017 (top) at the Houari Boumediene airport near Algiers, Algeria on Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Sidali Djarboub)

An arrival information screen shows the delayed Air Algerie flight 5017 (top) at the Houari Boumediene airport near Algiers, Algeria on Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Sidali Djarboub)

A French Reaper drone based in Niger initially spotted the wreckage, French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier told France-Info radio on Friday. Two helicopter teams also flew over the site, noting the wreckage was in a concentrated area. Soldiers and about 30 vehicles were sent to the site, he said.

Private Spanish airline Swiftair, which was operating Flight 5017, said the six crew members were Spanish. Many of the passengers were scheduled to head on to Europe after the plane was to arrive in the Algerian capital.

Report compiled with information from The Associated Press