Algerian radio says over 100 dead in plane crash

Algerian radio says over 100 dead in plane crash

Algerian radio says over 100 dead in plane crash

The Polisario Front, which is seeking independence for the territory and is backed by Algeria, says 30 Western Saharans, including women and children, died.

The Soviet-designed Il-76 army transport plane has been in production since the 1970s and is said to have a good safety record. Mobile phone video showed black smoke billowing across the fields...

An inquiry is under way into the cause of the crash - Algeria's worst-ever air disaster.

Previous major air accidents in Algeria include an Air Algerie flight that crashed in northern Mali in July 2014 carrying 116 passengers and crew, almost half of them French, en route from Burkina Faso to Algeria.

It is also the second-deadliest plane crash since 2003.

Both the towns are on the Algerian-Morocco border.

"I saw the right wing of the plane catching fire as it was flying at a low altitude shortly after its takeoff", a witness told private broadcaster Ennahar.

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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced three days of mourning in the country over the crash, the state news agency APS reported.

The victims' bodies were transported to the Algerian army's central hospital outside the capital. Algerian TV Dzair said five people were in a critical state, but it's unclear whether they were inside the plane when it crashed.

"My friend survived the plane (crash) but he is still in hospital", said Djamel, one of dozens of people who gathered near the crash site on Thursday.

Several newspapers praised the pilot, Smail Doucene, citing witnesses who said he had managed to steer the plane away from nearby homes.

In February of that year, another Algerian military transport plane, an American-built C-130 Hercules turboprop carrying at least 78 people, crashed in mountainous terrain in the northeastern province of Oum El Bouaghi.

In 2014, a Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 aboard.

The U.S. Embassy in Algiers expressed its "deepest condolences" to "our partners and colleagues in the Algerian military", and their families. There was a single survivor in that crash.