Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

247 killed in Algerian Military plane crash

247 killed in Algerian Military plane crash

It was the first crash of an Algerian military plane since February 2014, when a USA -built C-130 Hercules turboprop slammed into a mountain in Algeria, killing at least 76 people and leaving just one survivor.

The military transport plane crashed into a field shortly after take off at Boufarik airport, southwest of Algiers.

Djamel Ould Abbes, secretary general of the ruling FLN party, told Ennahar television that 26 of the dead were members of the Polisario, the armed group fighting Morocco's control over the Western Sahara region.

The Defence Ministry, confirming the death toll, said those killed include 247 members and 10 crew members.

The Soviet-designed Il-76 military transport plane crashed in an agricultural zone with no residents, Mr Achour said.

Algeria has experienced a number of military and civil air disasters in recent years. Algerian army chief-of-staff Ahmed Gaid Salah, who visited the site, has ordered the formation of a committee to investigate.

Several witnesses told the private network Ennahar TV that they had seen flames coming from one engine as the plane was taking off.

The flight had just taken off from Boufarik, about 30km south-west of Algiers, when it crashed.

The plane was said to be headed to the western Algerian city of Bechar.

Tindouf is home to thousands of refugees from the Western Sahara standoff, many of them Polisario supporters.

United Nations attempts to broker a settlement have failed for years in the vast desert area, which has been contested since 1975 when Spanish colonial powers left. Over 300 emergency workers and volunteers were at the scene.

In 2014, a Hercules C-130 carrying members of the country's air force and their families crashed in Algeria's east, killing 77 people.

The defense ministry blamed that crash on bad weather.

That same year, an Air Algérie flight crashed in Mali while flying between Bukina Faso and Algeria, killing all 116 people on board.

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