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 siteFrench 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.
(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.
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