The Air Algerie McDonnell Douglas MD-83 carrying 110 passengers and six crewmembers that had gone missing while en route from the West African nation of Burkina Faso to Algiers has reportedly crashed in neighboring Mali. Burkino Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedrago told Reuters that the crew asked to change its route at 1:38 GMT because of a storm in the area. In a statement made to Algerian state news agency APS, Air Algerie said that air traffic controllers lost contact with flight AH 5017 at 1:55 a.m. GMT on July 24. The aircraft, which was leased from Spanish charter airline Swiftair, had taken off from Ougadougou in Burkina Faso at 1:17 GMT and was due to lend in the Algerian capital Algiers at 5:10 GMT.
Weather reports indicated thunderstorms and high winds in Flight 5017’s plotted flight path, which included an area of insurgent activity in northern Mali. Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellai told Radio Algerienne that the aircraft went missing somewhere near Gao in Mali. UN troops stationed in Mali told news agencies, including the BBC, that they believed the aircraft had crashed somewhere between Gao and Tessalit.