More than 250 people killed after Algerian military plane crashes

  • More than 250 people killed after Algerian military plane crashes

More than 250 people killed after Algerian military plane crashes

The flight had just taken off from the Boufarik military base, 30km south-west of the capital Algiers, for a military base in Bechar in south-west Algeria, according to Farouk Achour, the chief spokesman for the civil protection services.

"I was deeply saddened by the loss of such a large number of people after the crash of a military transport plane in Algeria", Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a tweet.

257 people were killed when an Algerian military plane crashed shortly after taking off from an army airport in the north of the country, local officials confirmed.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after the crash announced three days of national mourning, adding that prayers for the dead will be held on Friday, news agency AP reported.

Algerian authorities did not mention whether there were any survivors.

In a statement, the country's defence ministry was quoted as saying the victims comprise 10 crew members and 247 passengers - most of whom are soldiers and their relatives.

"The airplane started to rise sooner than falling", an unidentified man, laying on what seemed to be a hospital mattress, instructed Ennahar TV.

The four-engine Il-76 made its maiden voyage in 1997, according to Aviation Safety Network. It is widely used for both commercial freight and military transport. The Algerian military, which historically has depended on the Soviet Union then Russian Federation for military hardware, operates several of the planes. This was the first plane crash after February 2014, in which several lives were lost. A French investigation into the crash blamed pilot error.

Earlier it was reported about at least 105 dead.

The army's experience fighting terrorism has made it a valued ally of the US and other western nations.

The scene of the crash is 20 miles southwest of the capital, Algiers.

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.

The plane came down in farmland close to the Boufarik air base, southwest of Algiers.