Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

Algerian military plane crashes, at least 100 dead

Algerian military plane crashes, at least 100 dead

Algerian emergency services say 257 people have died when a military plane carrying soldiers and their families crashed soon after takeoff in a farm field in northern Algeria.

The flight took off from the Boufarik military base, which is situated 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of the capital Algiers, and was headed to a military base in Bechar in southwest Algeria, according to Mohammed Farouk Achour, chief spokesman for the civil protection agency. A fire broke out at the scene of the crash, which was recorded by witnesses and uploaded on social media.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and security forces set up a cordon to prevent journalists and onlookers from approaching.

"The number of martyrs has risen to 247 passengers and 10 members of the crew, most of whom are members of the army as well as their families", said the ministry statement.

State-run Radio Algerie said the cause of crash is not clear and it is also not known whether there were any survivors.

The Soviet-designed Il-76 military transport plane crashed in an agricultural zone with no residents, Achour added. Morocco claimed the territory while Polisario established its self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic there.

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Algeria backs independence for Western Sahara, something that neighboring Morocco refuses.

Algeria has suffered a string of military and civilian aviation disasters.

Wednesday's plane crash is the deadliest in the world since 17 July 2014, when all 298 people on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 died when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

Only one person survived after the C-130 Hercules jet came down in the mountainous Oum El Bouaghi region, with the crash being blamed on bad weather.

In recent months, falling energy prices have further strained the public finances, leading to a series of monthslong strikes by teachers, doctors and other public workers protesting their pay and conditions, although Reuters reported that some doctors had suspended their walkout to treat the crash victims.

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