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Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

© © Kevin Cleyhens, AFP | A McDonnell Douglas MD-83 operated by Spanish airline Swiftair, the same plane that vanished Thursday in northern Mali

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-25

An Air Algérie flight from Burkina Faso to Algeria with 116 people on board vanished from radar over northern Mali early Thursday. French aviation expert Pierre Duval explains why it is highly unlikely the plane was hit by a missile.

Speaking to FRANCE 24, Duval warned against drawing parallels with the Malaysia Airlines flight that was reportedly hit by a missile in eastern Ukraine last week, killing all 298 people on board.

“We should eliminate the hypothesis of a missile [fired] from the ground, because there is no such technology in the area,” Duval said, referring to the rugged, lawless scrubland of northern Mali where jihadist militants are known to roam.

Duval cited a hijacking or a possible explosion on board the plane as more plausible causes of a crash, casting doubt on the likelihood that the plane was brought down by severe weather conditions.

French officials have confirmed that 51 French nationals were on board the plane.

France's President François Hollande said "all military means we have in Mali'' were being activated to find the plane.

The French army intervened in Mali in January 2013 to defeat an Islamist insurgency in the north, and has kept considerable military means in the region.

Click on the player above to watch the interview.

Date created : 2014-07-24

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