A flight chartered by Air Algerie disappeared from radar en route from Burkina Faso to Algiers late Wednesday night.
Air navigation services lost track of flight AH5017 about 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso in West Africa.
Alegerian authorities say the plane was flying over Gao, Mali, when the crew requested a route change request due to weather.
The aircraft, a Swiftair MD83, is carrying 110 passengers and 6 crew members. The crewmembers, two pilots and four in the cabin, are Spanish nationals while reports suggest that multiple nationalities were on the flight.
A diplomat in the Malian capital Bamako said that the north of the country – which lies on the plane’s likely flight path – told Reuters that the plane was struck by a powerful sandstorm overnight.
Weather Channel digital meteorologist Nick Wiltgen tweeted this infrared image of the weather conditions when contact was lost.
CNN reports that Flight AH 5017 left Ougadougou at 00:45 local time on Thursday (8:45 p.m. Wednesday EDT) and was scheduled to arrive at Algiers’ Houari Boumediene Airport at 5:40 a.m. local time (12:40 a.m. Thursday ET). The plane had been missing for hours before its disappearance became public.
Flight AH5017 flies the four-hour passenger route four times a week.
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