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In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

© FRANCE 2 screen grab of Air Algérie Flight AH5017 wreckage

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-26

One day after Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crashed en route from Burkina Faso to Algeria in a desolate part of northern Mali with 118 people on board, the first images of the plane’s wreckage began to emerge on Friday.

• The wreckage of flight AH5017 was spotted late on Thursday in Mali by a French military drone. It crashed just after passing the Burkinabe border as it headed north to Algiers and was carrying 118 people, including 54 French citizens. An earlier count of 51 French nationals was revised to include dual citizens.

• The crash left no survivors, said French President François Hollande. He added that one of the black box flight recorders had been recovered and would be analysed.

• French Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier said on Friday that he believed bad weather was the most likely culprit. However, Hollande said that for the time being, he “wasn’t excluding any theory”.

• French, Malian and Dutch soldiers from a UN peacekeeping force (MINUSMA) secured the crash site, which lies about 80 km (50 miles) south of the northern Malian town of Gossi, near the Burkina Faso border. The crash site covers an area of about 300 metres by 300 metres and is an arduous day's trek from Gossi, making it difficult for forensic teams to reach it. Remains of French nationals recovered at the site will be first taken to the Malian city of Gao then repatriated “as quickly as possible”, according to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

• Burkina Faso Minister Luc Adolphe Tiao told reporters the bodies had been so badly charred and destroyed that they would be very difficult to identify.

• According to regional air safety body ASECNA, the area was "the scene of storm systems potentially dangerous for a plane". It also said that it had forecast the bad weather and that the information was available to all aircraft in the affected area. Malian authorities said they were opening an international inquiry into the crash.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-07-25

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