French soldiers on Friday secured one of the black boxes from the Air Algerie plane that went down in restive northern Mali with the loss of at least 116 people, French President Francois Hollande said today.
Terrorism has not been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely cause is bad weather.
The black box was recovered from the wreckage, in the Gossi region near the border with Burkina Faso, and is being taken to the northern city of Gao, where a French contingent is based, Hollande told reporters after a crisis meeting with top ministers.
- Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Audience Reaction: Ranbir, Aishwarya, Anushka Starrer Gets A Thumbs Up
- Bigg Boss 10, October 27 Review: Navin, Lokesh Fights During The Immunity Task
- Shivaay Audience Reaction: Ajay Devgn Impresses Viewers
- Pakistan High Commission Staffer Caught With Defence Documents: What It Means For India & Pakistan
- The Royal Opera House Reopens After Decades Of Neglect: Here’s A Quick Tour
- Tata Sons Rubbishes Cyrus Mistry’s Allegations: Here’s What Happened
- Pakistan High Commissioner denies allegations leveled on his staffer for espionage activities
- Odisha: Villagers Refuse To Cremate Dalit Woman’s Body
- Here’s What Farhan Akhtar Said On Karan Johar-MNS ‘Deal’ Over Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’s Release
- Government’s Diwali Gift to Central Government Employees, Pensioners
- Bigg Boss 10 26th October Review: This Episode Is All About Fights
- New Zealand Beat India By 19 Runs In Ranchi; Series Levelled At 2-2
- DND Toll-Free: Noida Toll Company Moves Supreme Court Against Allahabad High Court
- British PM Theresa May Says Kashmir Is A Matter For India, Pakistan To Sort Out
- J&K: Students Suffer As Schools Along LOC Forced To Shut Amid Firing
“There are, alas, no survivors,” Hollande said. “I share the pain of families living through this terrible ordeal.”
Nearly half of the passengers aboard the flight were French, many headed on to Europe after arriving in the Algerian capital from the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou.
The president has said that France will spare no efforts to uncover the cause of the crash, the third major plane disaster around the world within a week.
“There are hypotheses, notably weather-related, but we don’t rule out anything because we want to know what happened,” Hollande said.
“What we know is that the debris is concentrated in a limited space, but it is too soon to draw conclusions,” he added.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve added, speaking to RTL radio: “Terrorist groups are in the zone. … We know these groups are hostile to Western interests.”
The MD-83 aircraft, owned by Spanish company Swiftair and leased by Algeria’s flagship carrier, disappeared from radar less than an hour after it took off yesterday from Ouagadougou for Algiers. The plane had requested permission to change course due to bad weather.
A team from France’s Accident Investigation Bureau has been sent to Mali, Hollande said.
A French Reaper drone based in Niger initially spotted the wreckage, French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier told France-Info radio today.
Two helicopter teams also overflew, noting that the wreckage was in a concentrated area. A column of soldiers in some 30 vehicles were dispatched to the site, he said.
“We sent men, with the agreement of the Mali government, to the site, and they found the wreckage of the plane with the help of the inhabitants of the area,” said General Gilbert Diendere, a close aide to Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore and head of the crisis committee set up to investigate the flight.