Hundreds dead in Algerian military plane disaster

Videos and images posted on social media show thick black smoke billowing from the site.
April 11, 2018, 9:45am

More than 250 people died Wednesday after a military aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from the Boufarik base in Algeria, according to state television reports.

The plane, an Ilyushin Il-78, was carrying troops from the People’s National Army as well as equipment, when it took off just before 8 a.m. local time, heading for Bechar in south-western Algeria.

Videos and images posted on social media show thick black smoke billowing from the site, as rescuers rushed to help.

Algerian state TV is reporting the death toll from the crash has risen to 257, though it remains unclear how many people were on board, according to Reuters.

Local news broadcaster Al-Hadath and Al Arabiya, both quoting military sources, said there were no survivors from the crash.

The cause of the tragedy is unknown, but an eyewitness speaking to local media said they saw fire coming from the plane before it crashed into a farm.

All roads leading to the Boufarik military airport have been closed with more than a dozen ambulances and 10 fire engines attending the scene.

The airport is located about 35 kilometers southwest of the capital Algiers.

Another Algerian military plane crashed four years ago, killing 77 military personnel and members of their families. The Hercules C-130 plane hit a mountain in Oum al-Bouaghi province in bad weather conditions.

Cover image: Firefighters and civil security officers work at the scene of a fatal military plane crash in Boufarik, near the Algerian capital, Algiers, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)