257 people die in Algerian plane crash

Posted April 15, 2018

Initial television pictures showed clouds of smoke billowing from an area near the runway.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and security forces set up a cordon to prevent journalists and onlookers from approaching.

It crashed outside the Boufarik military air base in a farm field.

The Defense Ministry said that there were at least two survivors of the crash, according to The New York Times. An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway. The head of the Algerian army, the vice-minister of defence, and military chief of staff visited the crash site to inspect the wreckage.

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Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika declared three days of national mourning.

"The people of South Africa share their pain and loss and extend their most honest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident", he said.

Achour also said the Russian-designed Il-76 military transport plane was carrying soldiers, the Guardian reported.

Ennahar newspaper reported that 26 of those killed were members of the Polisario Front, an armed political movement seeking independence for the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.

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Rabat considers Western Sahara an integral part of Morocco and proposes autonomy for the resource-rich territory.

Algerians on Thursday mourned 257 people killed in a military plane crash the day before, the country's worst-ever aviation catastrophe, with no indication yet of the cause. The plane has been in production since the 1970s, and is widely used for both commercial freight and military transport.

It is the deadliest plane crash since July 2014, when all 298 people on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 died when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine. Algerian TV Dzair said five people were in a critical state but it's unclear whether they were inside the plane when it crashed.

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