No survivors after Air Algerie plane crash, France says

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French President Francois Hollande has said no-one has survived the crash of an Air Algerie flight over Mali.

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There were 116 people on board, including 51 French nationals when it went down over northern Mali.

The airline said there were also 24 Burkinabe, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, six Spanish, five Canadians, four Germans and two Luxembourg nationals on board.

The French president also said the flight’s black box has been recovered by French military.

Earlier, France’s transport minister said it was extremely unlikely, and even “out of the question” that there were any survivors.

“Given the state of the plane (wreck), it is very unlikely, even out of the question, that there are any survivors,” Frederic Cuvillier said.

He’s also ruled out the possiblity the plane was shot down by rebels in Mali’s restive north.

“We have excluded from the start the possibility of a strike from the ground,” he said.

French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said weather was the most probable cause of the crash although authorities were not excluding other potential causes.

Flight AH5017, which took off from Ouagadougou bound for Algiers went missing early Thursday amid reports of heavy storms, company sources and officials said.

The wreckage of the plane was found in Mali near the Burkina Faso border.

Algerian radio quoted Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal as saying the plane dropped off the radar at Gao, 500km from the Algerian border.

Mali, Algeria, Niger and France co-ordinated their search efforts under the umbrella of the French-led military intervention in Mali, Operation Serval.