Air Algerie plane crash: British man among 118 people killed when passenger jet crashed

The plane is thought to have become caught in poor weather conditions
  • @kashmiragander

A British man was among the 118 people killed when an Air Algerie passenger jet crashed in Mali on Thursday, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

“It is with deep regret that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirms the death of a British man onboard Air Algerie flight AH 5107,” a spokesman said, but did not give the man's name.

His family is being provided with consular support, the spokesman added on Friday evening.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "deeply saddened" by the death. "Thoughts very much with friends and family," he added.

Earlier in the day, French government officials, including the President Francois Hollande and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, said the previous death toll from the incident had risen from 116 to 118. 54, rather than 51, French citizens were confirmed dead.

The other victims included six Spanish crew members, 24 people from Burkina Faso, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans and two Luxembourgers. There was one passenger each from Belgium, Cameroun, Egypt, Malia, Romania and Switzerland and two passengers whose nationality has yet to be established.

French soldiers recovered the black box from the wreckage of flight AH5017, after the aircraft was discovered by a French reaper drone in a remote area of the Gossi region of the West African nation on Friday, French officials said.

One of two black boxes has been found and was sent to Gao, a troubled city in northern Mali, where remains will be sent for identification before being repatriated, Fabius said at Friday's news conference.

It is believed that the aircraft came down due to poor weather in the region, although terrorism in the restive region has not been ruled out as the cause.

“We think the plane went down due to weather conditions, but no hypothesis can be excluded as long as we don't have the results of an investigation,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told RTL radio hours before the news conference with three other government ministers.

Fabius said that more than 200 troops are guarding the site before French accident and criminal investigators arrive in the area on Saturday.

The debris field is in a concentrated area near the border with Burkina Faso “in a zone of savannah and sand with very difficult access, especially in this rainy season,” Fabius said at a news conference in Paris with the defence and transport ministers.

The MD-83 aircraft was traveling from Burkina Faso to Algeria, when the pilot sent his final message to ask Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rain, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said Thursday.

Images broadcast on French television showed images of the wreckage site taken by a soldier from Burkina Faso. The brief footage showed clumps of twisted metal, but no identifiable parts such as the fuselage or tail, or victims' bodies. Scrubby vegetation could be seen scattered in the background.