Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

France to examine Air Algerie boxes

Family members and friends await news on Air Algeria Flight 5017 which crashed in Mali on Thursday at the airport in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (AP)

Black boxes from the Air Algerie plane that crashed last week in northern Mali will be transferred to France for analysis, according to French officials.

The boxes will be transferred from northern Mali to the capital, Bamako, and then delivered to Paris by French gendarmes.

The plane took off from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and was heading to Algiers, Algeria, when it crashed early on Thursday in northern Mali near the border with Burkina Faso.

French authorities say extreme bad weather was the likely cause but are not ruling out other possibilities, including terrorism.

French President Francois Hollande said yesterday that data from the black boxes must be analysed as quickly as possible.

The crash killed 118 people, nearly half of whom were French.

Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office said it has sent two identification experts to Paris to consult with French authorities on supporting the effort to identify the crash victims.

Officials have said the victims included a German family of four.

In Burkina Faso, French forensic experts were expected to arrive later to begin DNA tests on the relatives of victims.

General Gilbert Diendere, a close aide of Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, said that five or six experts would conduct the tests, the results of which would be used to identify remains recovered from the crash site.

The site is being secured by 180 French soldiers and 40 Dutch soldiers from the UN peacekeeping mission in addition to Malian soldiers, French army spokesman Lt Col Michel Sabatier said.

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