World / Africa

PM says bad weather to blame for Air Algerie crash

Updated: 2014-07-28 20:35

McDonnell Douglas MD-83

Twin rear-engined, short-medium range airliner

More powerful version of the MD-80 type, based on earlier DC-9

Range: 4,637km (2,881 miles)

Capacity: 172 passengers

First flew: 1985

ALGIERS - Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Saturday that bad weather was the most likely cause of the crash of an Air Algerie flight which killed all 118 people aboard.

The MD-83 plane, operated by Air Algerie, encountered complicated weather conditions, including thick cloud, strong wind and a sand storm, soon after takeoff, Sellal told a press conference.

No information indicated that rebels in northern Mali, where the ill-fated airliner crashed, were equipped with weapons capable of hitting aircraft flying at a cruising altitude of 10,000 meters, he added.

Analysis of the black boxes and the crash site could determine whether pilot errors were to blame for the air crash.

The MD-83 plane, leased from Spanish company Swiftair just one month ago, was checked days before the crash by French aviation mechanics and was "in good condition," according to the Algerian premier.

Operated by Algeria's flagship carrier, the AH5017 flight with 112 passengers of 14 different nationalities and six Spanish crew members, crashed in the northern Malian town of Gossi Thursday after taking off from the Ouagadougou airport in Burkina Faso.

Both black boxes of the doomed aircraft have been retrieved at the crash site by a French military unit and the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

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