Air Algerie Plane Crashes in Mali, Rough Weather in Flight Path
A week after the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster and the crash of a TransAsia plane on a small Taiwanese island, another airliner has crashed in a remote part of Mali.
Air Algerie Flight 5017 was en route to Algiers — the capital of Algeria — from Ouagadougou Airport in Burkina Faso. According a translated post on the Ouagadougou Airport website, there were 116 people on-board the MD-83 aircraft when it went down. Fifty of those passengers were French nationals, no Americans were reported to be on the flight.
Soon after losing radar contact with the aircraft, French soldiers in Mali began looking for wreckage. And within the last few hours those troops spotted a debris field “halfway between Gao and Kidal.” The press release from the airport went on to say that due to the remoteness of the location, it’s unlikely that medical aid will be able to get to the crash site Thursday.
At the time of the crash, there was ongoing thunderstorm activity along the border of Burkina Faso and Mali. The above image shows storms in the region at the time of the crash. CNN reports the captain requested a flight diversion to avoid those thunderstorms. Strong to severe thunderstorms frequently form this time of year in equatorial Africa and it’s a common practice for pilots to avoid these storms. How much of a role the weather played in the crash remains a unclear.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond