With news of the recent Malaysian Airlines disaster fresh in people's memory, news has come in that an Air Algerie flight, which was carrying some 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital, managed to disappear early on Thursday morning.
The plane was last seen over northern Mali just after heavy rains had been reported, says the owner of the plane. The same was reported by officials in France and in Burkina Faso.
KTVU in San Francisco says that air navigation services lost track of plane, a MD-83 just 50 minutes after it took off. It had left from Ouagadougou, which is the capital of Burkina Faso, at 0155 GMT (9:55 p.m. EDT on Wednesday), reports the official Algerian news agency.
The passenger manifest included: 51 French, 27 Burkina Faso nationals, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Belgium, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian, according to the Burkina Faso Transport Minister, Jean Bertin Ouedraogo. The six crew members onboard the plane were Spanish, said the Spanish pilots' union.
"Another airline disaster, it's just terrible," says San Francisco resident, Katie Adler.
The last message received from the plane came at 0130 GMT (9:30 p.m. EDT), and the captain was asking Niger air control to change the airline's route due to extreme rains in the area, reports Ouedraogo.
KTVU Channel 2 in San Francisco reports: "French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said the plane vanished over northern Mali. He spoke Thursday from a crisis center set up in the French Foreign Ministry. Cuvillier didn't specify exactly where the plane disappeared over Mali, or whether it was in an area controlled by rebels."
But Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Algerian state television said that 10 minutes before it went missing, the plane ws in touch with air traffic control in Gao, which is a city under the rule of the Malian government which has been through separatist violence. There is much unrest in the area.
This is an ongiong story.