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Another plane falls out of the skies: THIRD aviation disaster in a week as Algerian passenger jet crashes in Sahara desert

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Mali’s president says wreckage of missing Air Algerie flight has been spotted in north of country as 116 passengers feared dead

  •     Swiftair MD-83 vanished 50mins after take-off from capital of Burkina Faso
  •     Now Mali president has confirmed wreckage has been found in desert
  •     Plane ‘made detour over fears it was flying into a storm over northern Mali’
  •     Crew also worried it may collide with another aircraft, airline source said
  •     Mali air space graded ‘high risk’ by U.S. aviation authority due to civil war
  •     Comes after 298 killed in MH17 disaster and 48 die in plane crash in Taiwan

The fate of the Air Algerie flight which vanished with 116 people on board en route from Burkina Faso to Algiers appears to have been uncovered after Mali’s President confirmed wreckage has been found.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said today that the wreckage of the flight had been spotted in his country’s desert north.

It is the third major aviation disaster in a week, following the MH17 disaster in Ukraine and the TransAsia Airways crash in Taiwan yesterday.

Nearly 250 people died in these two crashes. The week’s grim toll may now rise by 116 more.

‘I have just been informed that the wreckage has been found between Aguelhoc and Kidal,’ Keita said during a meeting of political, religious and civil society leaders in Bamako. He did not give any more details.

Amid conflicting reports, Laurent Fabius, France’s foreign minister said earlier today that no wreckage had been found, but believed the plane had ‘probably crashed.’

Air navigation services lost track of the Swiftair MD-83 around 50 minutes into the flight after the crew reportedly asked to change course over fears it was flying into a storm.

The plane, which is operated by Air Algerie, was last picked up on radar at 1.55am GMT en route from Burkina Faso to Algiers.

Algerian passenger jet crashes

It should have landed in the Algerian capital around three hours later, but didn’t arrive.

Earlier, aviation officials had reportedly said debris from the plane had been spotted in a ‘very inaccessible desert area’ between Gao and Kidal in Mali.

But Mr Fabius said this afternoon that ‘no trace’ had yet been seen.

He said: ‘The plane has probably crashed. The searches are focusing at this stage on a vast strip of Malian territory around the region of Gao.’

The crash comes after a treacherous week for the aviation industry in which 298 people were killed when flight MH17 plane was shot down over Ukraine and 48 people died in a crash in Taiwan.

Airlines have also cancelled flights into Tel Aviv due to the conflict in Gaza.

The list of passengers on AH5017 includes 51 French, 27 Burkina Faso nationals, eight Lebanese, six Algerians and five Canadians.

Fateful path: Contact was lost with flight AH 5017 while it was still in Malian air space approaching the border with Algeria after taking off from Ouagadougou, the capital of the west African nation of Burkina Faso

Fateful path: Contact was lost with flight AH 5017 while it was still in Malian air space approaching the border with Algeria after taking off from Ouagadougou, the capital of the west African nation of Burkina Faso

There were also four Germans, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Belgium, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said. 

The six crew members are Spanish, according to the Spanish pilots’ union.

The flight path of AH5017 from Ouagadougou, the capital of the west African nation of Burkina Faso, to Algiers was not immediately clear.

However, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedragor said the flight had been asked to change route because of a storm around 30 minutes after taking off.

Lost: A map on Ouagadougou airport's website reportedly shows AH5017's last contact while over Mali

Lost: A map on Ouagadougou airport’s website reportedly shows AH5017’s last contact while over Mali

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2704018/BREAKING-NEWS-Algerian-airline-loses-contact-plane-carrying-110-people-disappears-radar-flying-Burkina-Faso-Algiers.html#ixzz38QYVJWe6

By Simon Tomlinson and John Hall and Nabila Ramdani

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