Air Algerie was ill-prepared for the tragedy that hit on Friday and asked families to wait on information regarding Flight AH5017 that claimed the lives of 118 passengers. While moving through heavy rain storms, the flight made an untimely downfall over the African Sub-Saharan desert, where it capsized into small pieces and left its remaining wreckage spread out over 40 miles.
Air Algerie Flight AH5017 left Burkina Faso, North Africa, and was headed to Algiers, Algeria, which is about four hours away. Just over an hour into the flight, the passenger jetliner forcefully descended thousands of feet before falling hard over the desert floor. In a press conference, French President Francois Hollande told reporters “there were no survivors” in the devastating and unpredictable event.
Also at the press conference were representatives of Air Algerie, who said that the pilots had been in communication with air control shortly before losing signals. The pilots are recorded informing the African air control monitors that another aircraft, which was a Niger jet airliner, was headed directly into the path of Air Algerie Flight AH5017.
The air traffic officials said the Niger airliner had been redirected because of bad weather, and controllers were in the process of seeking an alternative route for Air Algerie at the time when the plane’s radar dropped its signal. Weather reports also confirm the weather was poor during the time Air Algerie Spanish pilots made the last call to African air control.
Air Algerie was ill-prepared for this tragedy and has asked families to wait on further information, because a thorough investigation must be conducted before they will know exactly what caused the fatal accident. However, hundreds of family members are devastated by the shattering news of the untimely deaths of victims.
Although it has been determined that drastic changes in weather during the flight will most likely be the case, authorities will not know for certain until after the official outcome of an in-depth investigation. Because the tragedy is yet another plane crash that occurred over rebel-held territories, many skeptics are becoming wary that the incident may be related to some form of terrorism.
President Hollande said since 1700 French troops were already stationed in Algiers, they would be deployed immediately to the Air Algerie crash site in Mali, North Africa. According to Burkina Faso officials, the crash site is between two districts Kidal and Aguelhok. However, French officials said they will also search for remains outside both parameters, which is about another 80 miles.
The Air Algerie airliner, a MD-83 Boeing model, was a leased jet plane and can carry over three hundred passengers at one time. The MD-83 luxury aircraft came from the 1980s and was only one of 265 replicas made before McDonald Douglas stopped the assembly in 1999. Swiftair, the owners of the aircraft, are a small private company based in Spain. Out of the 118 passengers who were killed on the flight, 6 of them were from Spain, including the pilots.
Swiftair recently released a statement on their website sending out condolences to all the people affected by this tragedy. Although Air Algerie was ill-prepared for the tragedy, they have asked the families to be patient and wait on further information. Meanwhile, Spain and France, along with many other countries, have offered their full support.
By Kimakra Nealy