More Than 250 People Killed in Deadliest Plane Crash Since 2014
At least 257 people have been reported dead in a military plane crash in northern Algeria on Wednesday, Algeria’s Defense Ministry said. It is the deadliest aviation crash in four years.
The crash happened shortly after takeoff from the Boufarik military airport, located near the capital of Algiers. Those on board were military personnel and their families. Ten of those reported killed were crew members, according to state-runRadio Algérie.
The Defense Ministry said that there were at least two survivors of the crash, according to The New York Times. The cause of the crash is still unknown.
The Ilyushin Il-76 transporter crashed into an empty field shortly after takeoff. Video from the scene shows smoke billowing from the plane and emergency responders rushing towards the crash. Emergency responders told Associated Press that some bodies pulled from the plane showed “deep burns caused by the fuselage catching fire.”
An Algerian ruling party official said that 26 of the people onboard were members of the Polisario Front, a political group in Western Sahara, seeking independence from Morocco and supported by Algeria.
The plane’s destination was Béchar in western Algeria, located less than 50 miles from the Moroccan border. The plane was scheduled to make a stopover in Tindouf,near the Western Saharan border.
The crash is the deadliest since 2014, when 298 people were killed on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, shot down over Ukraine.