Algerian military plane crash kills more than 100

11 April, 2018, 17:34 | Author: Orlando Hughes
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Algeria suffered its deadliest ever air catastrophe Wednesday when a military plane crashed near the capital, killing 257 people on board, mostly army personnel and their family members, officials said.

The previous most deadly crash on Algerian soil occurred in 2003, when 102 people were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset.

As many as 14 ambulances and ten fire engines were dispatched to the horror blaze and dozens of bodies were pulled from the wreckage, according to local reports.

The Russian-made Ilyushin Il-76 landed in fields on its way from the town of Béchar from the military airport in Boufarik, southwest of Algiers. The defence ministry did not provide a death toll but expressed condolences to the victims' families. No death toll was immediately available.

The group is fighting for the independence of neighbouring Western Sahara, a territory also claimed by Morocco in a long-running dispute.

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Television footage showed crowds gathering around the smoking and flaming wreckage near Boufarik airport southwest of Algiers.

Algeria is the chief backer of the Polisario Front, which Morocco accuses of setting up military posts in a UN-monitored buffer zone in the Western Sahara near the border with Algeria.

The C-130 Hercules transport aircraft came down in the mountainous Oum El Bouaghi region.

The head of the army has ordered an investigation into the crash and will visit the scene, according to a statement from the defence ministry.

In July 2014, the country's deadliest ever air accident killed 116 people when an Air Algérie jet went down in the Malian desert.

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