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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:03:04 +0000
(OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso) -- French troops are headed to a remote area in Mali to secure the site of Thursday's Air Algerie jet crash, the third major international aviation disaster in a week.
French President Francois Hollande announced Friday that there were no survivors in the crash of the MD-83 aircraft, which disappeared from radar less than an hour after it took off early Thursday from Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, for Algiers. The plane had requested permission to change course due to bad weather.
The jetliner -- owned by Spanish company Swiftair and leased by Algeria's flagship carrier -- had 110 passengers and six crew members on board.
President Hollande, who spoke after a crisis meeting, also announced that one of the aircraft's two black boxes have been located in the wreckage, in the Gossi region near the Burkina Faso border. It is being transported to the northern Mali city of Gao.
French forces, stationed in Mali to help combat al Qaeda and tribal separatists, are tasked with securing the crash site and gathering information. Much of the region is desert, rugged and remote, with few roads and an average high temperature of 101 degrees Farenheit this time of the year.
The airline said that among the passengers were 51 French nationals along with 24 Burkina Faso nationals, six Lebanese, five Canadians, four Algerians, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian. The six crew members were Spanish.
News of the plane's disappearance came when Swiftair released a statement saying the plane had not arrived at its destination.
The crash of the Air Algerie plane is the latest in a series of aviation disasters. In March, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared over the southern Indian Ocean with 239 people on board. No wreckage from the plane has been found.
And last week, a Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down over a war-torn section of Ukraine, with U.S. officials blaming it on separatists firing a surface-to-air missile.
On Wednesday, a Taiwanese plane crashed during a storm, killing 48 people.
While fliers are jittery about the tragedies, air travel remains relatively safe. There have been two deaths for every 100 million passengers on commercial flights in the last decade, excluding acts of terrorism. Travelers are much more likely to die driving to the airport than stepping on a plane.
There are more than 30,000 motor-vehicle deaths in the U.S. each year, a mortality rate eight times greater than that in planes.
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