‘257 killed’ as Algeria military aircraft crashes


At least 257 people were killed after a military aircraft crashed near the Boufarik airbase outside Algiers, the Algerian capital.

Ennahar TV, Algerian state television, said the aircraft, carrying mostly soldiers, went down shortly after takeoff on Wednesday morning.

The plane was said to be headed to Tindouf in Algeria’s south — home to camps for refugees — when it crashed.

In a statement, the country’s defence ministry was quoted as saying the victims comprise 10 crew members and 247 passengers — most of whom are soldiers and their relatives.

The cause of the crash was unclear and investigation into it is ongoing, the ministry added.

An Algerian ruling party official reportedly said also onboard were members of the Polisario Front, a separatist movement in West Sahara.

BBC reports that 14 ambulances were at the scene and injured people were being transferred to hospital.

Footage from the scene is said to show smoke coming off wreckage in a field.

The crash is the worst in Algeria since 2003 when an Air Algerie jet crashed, killing 102 people.

In 2014, more than 70 off-duty military personnel and their family members were killed when a C-130 plane crashed into the Djebel Fertas mountain shortly before it was to land in the northern city of Constantine.

In December 2012, two military jets conducting routine training operations collided in mid-air near Tlemcen, in Algeria’s northwest, killing the pilots of both planes.

A month earlier, a twin-turboprop CASA C-295 military transport aircraft, which was carrying a cargo of paper for the printing of banknotes in Algeria, crashed in southern France.

That plane was carrying five soldiers and a representative of the Algerian central bank, none of whom survived.


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