Plane crash in Algeria, 257 killed

Clay Curtis
April 12, 2018

At least 257 people, mostly soldiers and members of their families, were killed in an Algerian military plane crash today, the defence ministry said.

An Algerian military aircraft carrying around 250 army personnel crashed shortly after taking off from an airbase outside the capital.

Footage from the scene showed smoke coming off wreckage in a field.

The crash is the deadliest since 2014, when 298 people were killed on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, shot down over Ukraine. A senior member of the ruling FLN party said 26 members of the Polisario Front, an Algerian-backed separatist group in Western Sahara, were also among the dead.

"This morning at around 8 am, an Ilyushin model military transport plane ... crashed directly after takeoff in an agricultural field that was clear of residents", Major General Boualem Madi told state TV. The government has declared three days of national mourning. A French investigation into the crash blamed pilot error.

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United Nations attempts to broker a settlement have failed for years in the vast desert area, which has contested since 1975 when Spanish colonial powers left.

The four-engine Il-76 made its maiden voyage in 1997, according to Aviation Safety Network. It is widely used for both commercial freight and military transport. The Defence Ministry also issued a statement expressing condolences to families of the victims. Earlier in February 2014, a USA built C-130 Hercules military aircraft mainly carrying military personnel and their relatives had barged into the mountainous region of Oum El Bouaghi.

The Algerian military, which historically depended on the Soviet Union and then Russian Federation for military hardware, operates several of the planes.

The defence ministry blamed that crash on bad weather.

Authorities say no one survived a fiery plane crash Monday night on a suburban Phoenix golf course adjacent to the grounds where the PGA Tour holds a popular tournament.

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