French soldiers secure black box from Air Algerie jet wreckage site

French soldiers secure black box from Air Algerie jet wreckage site

PanARMENIAN.Net - French soldiers secured a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, July 25, the French president said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason for the catastrophe that killed all onboard is bad weather, the Associated Press reported.

One of two black boxes was recovered from the wreckage in the Gossi region of Mali near the border with Burkina Faso, and was taken to the northern city of Gao, where a French contingent is based, Hollande told reporters after an emergency meeting with government ministers.

"There are, alas, no survivors," Hollande said. "I share the pain of families living through this terrible ordeal."

A team of French air accident investigators was being sent to Mali, he said.

French television showed images of the crash site scene taken by a soldier from Burkina Faso. The brief footage showed a desolate area with scattered debris that was unrecognizable. There were bits of twisted metal but no identifiable parts such as the fuselage or tail, or victims' bodies. Scrubby vegetation could be seen scattered in the background.

Burkina soldiers were reportedly the first to reach the site, apparently Thursday evening, and the images were viewed at the Burkina Faso crisis center, the AP says.

The MD-83 aircraft, owned by Swiftair and leased by Algeria's flagship carrier, disappeared from radar screens less than an hour after it took off early Thursday from Ouagadougou for Algiers. The plane had requested permission to change course because of bad weather.

The pilots had sent a final message to ask Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rain, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said Thursday.

The MD-83 had passed its annual air navigation certificate renewal inspection in January without any problems, Spain's Public Works Ministry said Friday. The European Aviation Safety Agency also carried out a "ramp inspection" of the plane in June without incident.

Ramp inspections "are limited to on-the-spot assessments and cannot substitute for proper regulatory oversight," EASA website says. "Ramp inspections serve as pointers, but they cannot guarantee the airworthiness of a particular aircraft."

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