Air Algerie wreckage found; French send troops to secure site

Air Algerie wreckage found; French send troops to secure site
An Air Algerie sign at the airline's Paris office on July 24. (Remy de la Mauviniere / Associated Press)

The French government confirmed Thursday night that wreckage from an Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people that disappeared from radar earlier in the day had been found.

Wreckage from the flight was found in Mali's Gossi region, according to a news release from French officials.

The debris was "clearly identifiable" as the Air Algerie flight, officials said.

A French military detachment was deployed to secure the site and collect initial information, officials said.

The plane crashed during a storm over northern Africa early Thursday.

The flight took off from Burkina Faso at 1:17 a.m. Thursday but its disappearance was not made public until several hours after it didn't make its 6:10 a.m. scheduled arrival in Algiers.

Shortly before the plane vanished from the screens, the captain asked permission to depart from his planned route because of heavy storms and poor visibility over northern Mali. The plane is believed to have crashed shortly after making the diversion.

The passengers included 51 French, 27 Burkina Faso nationals, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans, two Luxembourg nationals, one Swiss, one Belgian, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian, according to Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo.

The disappearance of the plane came seven days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people, and one day after a TransAsia Airways flight in Taiwan crashed in bad weather, killing 48 people.

French President Francois Hollande conducted a crisis meeting at the Elysee Palace late Thursday afternoon and postponed a planned official visit to the Indian Ocean. He will hold another emergency meeting of ministers Friday morning.  

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