CAIRO – A military transport plane carrying at least 77 people crashed in eastern Algeria, and rescuers who rushed to the scene found one survivor but confirmed the deaths of dozens of others, the state news agency said.
The aircraft, a C-130, went down in mountainous terrain as it was making its descent in the province of Oum El Bouaghi, about 250 miles east of the capital, Algiers, the official Algerie Presse Service said. Those aboard were reported to have included soldiers, some family members and four crew members.
The news agency quoted a senior military official, Col. Lahmadi Bouguern, as saying that bad weather, including strong wind gusts, may have caused the crash. By nightfall, 52 deaths had been confirmed by rescuers, APS said.
Earlier reports had said that more than 100 people were aboard, but those figures were revised downward.
The plane took off from Tamanrasset, which lies in Algeria’s south near the Mali border and serves as a major military hub. It was bound for the city of Qasantinah, or Constantine, in the country’s northeast.
It would be the North African country’s deadliest aviation accident since an Air Algerie Boeing 737 crashed on takeoff from Tamanrasset in 2003. All but one of the 103 people aboard were killed.
Hassan is a special correspondent. Staff writer Laura King in Cairo contributed to this report.