World Bulletin / News Desk
Algeria suffered its deadliest-ever air catastrophe Wednesday when a military plane crashed near the capital, killing 257 people on board, mostly army personnel, and their family members, officials said.
Hundreds of ambulances and dozens of fire trucks with sirens wailing rushed to the scene of the crash, in an uninhabited area where one person was injured on the ground by debris.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze and security forces set up a cordon to prevent journalists and onlookers from approaching.
The defense ministry said in a statement that 247 passengers and 10 crew were killed without mentioning any survivors. Most of those on board were army members and their families, it said.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash. Deputy Defence Minister General Ahmed Gaid Salah visited the site and ordered an investigation, the defense ministry said.
The Ilyushin IL-76 transport plane was bound for Tindouf in southwest Algeria near the borders with Morocco and Western Sahara.
The Tindouf region is home to refugees from Western Sahara and houses the administrative offices of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic declared in 1976 by the Algiers-backed Polisario Front which seeks independence for the region.
Rabat considers Western Sahara an integral part of Morocco and proposes autonomy for the resource-rich territory.Last Mod: 11 Nisan 2018, 17:04