Algeria: armed group was at plane crash site

French President Francois Hollande said none of the 116 people on board the plane survived

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Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said on Friday that an armed group was present near the site where Air Algerie flight AH5017 crushed in northern Mali on Thursday.

Laamamra said the first information about the crush site was received from an armed group.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, meanwhile, said the most likely cause of Thursday’s crash was bad weather conditions, although authorities were not excluding other hypotheses.

“We think that this plane crashed for reasons pertaining to meteorological conditions,” he said on RTL radio.

The jet’s Spanish crew had signaled they were altering course due to difficult weather conditions, and company sources and officials said there had been reports of heavy storms at the time.

French transportation minister Frederic Cuvillier said the possibility of a strike from the ground had been ruled out “from the start,” rejecting speculation that rebels in Mali’s restive north could have shot the plane down.

In televised address, President Francois Hollande said no one survived the crash, adding that the plane’s black box flight recorder had been found.

“Sadly, there were no survivors” of flight AH5017 that had 116 people on board, including 51 French nationals, Hollande said.

Ten people from the same family with roots in France’s east died in the Air Algerie crash, local officials and relatives said Friday as the full extent of the tragedy came to light.

The members of the Reynaud family were on board the plane that crashed Thursday in Mali, the local authorities of the towns some of them lived in and their families confirmed.

[With AFP]

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