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More than 250 people killed after Algerian military plane crashes

More than 250 people killed after Algerian military plane crashes

Bodies of the 257 people killed in Algeria's worst aviation disaster were being identified at a military hospital Thursday and returned to families for burial, while officials provided no new information about the crash.

In the south, the Algerian-backed Polisario Front seeking independence for Western Sahara ordered a week of mourning for the 30 dead Sahrawi people returning to its refugee camps in Tindouf, a statement from the group said.

Emergency services rushed to the crash site, near a military base in Boufarik, about 15 miles southwest of Algiers.

NTSB investigators were at the crash site on Tuesday examining the burned wreckage next to a tree.

More than 250 men, women and children died when a heavily loaded military plane crashed and caught fire after taking off from an air force base in Algeria.

Helena Lagos, 22; and Iris Carolina Rodriguez Garcia, 23 were also killed in the crash.

Victims come from across the vast North African country, including the capital Algiers, where tens of people gathered outside the home of Seddiki Mehre, the plane's co-pilot.




The victims' bodies have been transported to the Algerian army's central hospital for identification. The pilot was said to have manoeuvred to avoid a busy motorway.

Hundreds of ambulances and dozens of fire trucks with sirens wailing rushed to the scene of the crash, in an uninhabited area where one person was injured on the ground by debris.

"This morning at around 8:00 an Ilyushin model military transport plane. crashed directly after takeoff in an agricultural field that was clear of residents", Major General Boualem Madi told state TV.

The Algerian military, which historically depended on the Soviet Union and then Russian Federation for military hardware, operates several of the planes.

Passengers from Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco after Spain withdrew in 1975, were among the fatalities.

The U.S. Embassy in Algiers said it offered its "sincere condolences" to those affected by the tragedy.

An Air Algerie passenger plane flying from Burkina Faso to Algiers crashed in northern Mali in July 2014, killing all 116 people on board including 54 French nationals.

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