Moroccan military plane crash kills 78

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The Independent Online

At least 78 people were killed yesterday when a Moroccan military transport plane crashed into a mountain in the south of the country during bad weather.

The military said there were three injured survivors so far from the crash, which happened when a Hercules C-130 aircraft was trying to land in Guelmim, having flown north from the disputed Western Sahara territory.

The crash is Morocco's worst air disaster since 1973, when 105 people were killed after a Royal Air Maroc aircraft crashed near the capital, Rabat.

A resident in the Guelmim area said there was thick fog at the time of the crash, which happened at 9am local time about 730km south of Rabat.

"The crash, due to bad weather conditions, caused 78 deaths and (left) three seriously wounded," Morocco's Royal Armed Forces said in a statement carried on the official MAP news agency.

The military said 60 soldiers, 12 civilians and nine crew members were on board at the time of the crash. The three survivors and 42 bodies recovered so far have been taken to a military hospital.

In a letter to relatives of the victims, King Mohammed – who heads the army – said he was "deeply moved by this painful accident", according to MAP.