An Air Algerie-operated MD-83 carrying 116 passengers and crew disappeared en route from Burkina Faso in Africa to Algiers, the aircraft´s owner said. The plane, which took off in the West African country shortly after midnight, was supposed to land at 5:10 a.m. local time, Swiftair, a charter company based in Spain, said in a statement today.
The jet may have crashed in Mali, the BBC reported, citing a United Nations official. Contact was lost over Gao, Mali, about 50 minutes after take-off, the news service said. The plane carried 110 passengers and six crew. “There has been no contact with the plane until now,” Swiftair said. “Emergency teams and the company´s personnel are working to figure out what happened and will notify people as further information is available.”
A loss of the aircraft would mark the third major incident in a week around the world for commercial airliners. A Malaysian Air Boeing Co. 777 went down over eastern Ukraine on July 17 following a suspected missile strike, killing all 298 people on board, while an ATR-72 turbo-prop crash yesterday on the Penghu Islands in Taiwan left 48 people dead.