Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the president of Mali, said on Thursday that the wreckage of the Air Algerie MD-83 aircraft had been spotted between Aguelhoc and Kidal in the north of the country.
The news hane been confirmed by Burkina Faso officials . “A Burkina Faso Helicopter just spotted the wreckage of the airplane. We sent men to help with the collection of bodies,” said a little later the President of the country.
Later on, a statement from the Elysee Palace in France said an contingent of French troops stationed in Mali were on their way to secure the site and collect the first pieces of information.
“We have found the Algerian plane. The wreck has been located 50 kilometres north of the Burkina Faso border, in the Malian region of Gossi,” said earlier on Friday morning to representatives of international media General Gilbert Diendiere, who attended a special meeting in Ouagadougou, after filling in the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore.
The city of Gossi is located about 100 km southwest of Gao, the largest city in northern Mali.
“At the moment we have no further information on the passengers but our teams are hard at work,” added the General.
Before announcing that the wreckage has been identified, General Diendiere had stated that a resident who lives in a village in Mali near Gossi said he saw a plane coming down early Thursday.
“We think that it is a reliable source because it corresponds to the latest radar images of the plane before it lost contact with air controllers,” Diendere said.
The timeline of the tragedy
A new airline tragedy with an Air Algerie aircraft occurred on Thursday, just hours after the crash of the TransAsia Airways aircraft and a week after the MH17 flight of Malaysia Airlines was shot down.
It all started on Thursday afternoon when Air Algerie announced that it lost contact with the aircraft, almost one hour after takeoff from Burkina Faso, West Africa.
“Air traffic control lost contact with an Air Algerie plane which operates on the Ouagadougou – Algiers line, fifty minutes after taking off”, according to a statement. The airplane was reportedly chartered by Spanish private company, Swiftair.
Swiftair clarified that it was a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 and not an Airbus A320 as was originally broadcast by international media.
AH5017 flight carried at least 116 passengers.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 wreckage of the fateful Air Algerie flight were finally found in Mali.
According to statements by the Algerian Prime Minister, the aircraft was identified by two French Mirage 2000 fighter jets, 70 km from the border of Mali, near the city of Gao, in a non-accessible area.