Commercial Plane Jet Crashes in Mali

Updated: 07/24/2014 11:06 AM
Created: 07/24/2014 5:45 AM

PARIS (AP) - France's foreign minister says the Air Algerie flight that has gone missing over northwestern Africa has "probably crashed."

Laurent Fabius says "no trace" of the plane has been found. Two French fighter jets are among aircraft scouring the rugged north of Mali for the MD-83 that was traveling from Burkina Faso to Algiers, the Algerian capital.

About 116 people were believed to be aboard the plane. About half of the passengers were French.

Officials say heavy rain was reported in the area. France's transport minister says the crew's last message asked air control to change the plane's route because of the weather.

The plane was being operated by the Spanish airline Swiftair. It had been missing for hours before the news was made public.

Unrest has plagued the northern part of Mali in recent years. But a senior French official says it seems unlikely that fighters in Mali would have the kind of weapons that could shoot down a plane.

Photo: MGN