Air Algérie plane wreckage, remains found in Mali after crashing in rainstorm

A group of herders who say they saw Air Algérie flight AH5017 crash claim it went down after being struck by lightning, local officials told Reuters.

Louis Berthaud, a community counsellor in Gossi near where the plane carrying 116 people went down, said: “The herders were in the bush and saw the plane fall.”

He added: “It must have been a storm and it was struck by lightning. They said it was on fire as it fell, before it crashed.”

At the moment the cause of the crash appears to be bad weather but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said no hypothesis, including terrorist attacks, had been excluded.

The wreckage of the plane was found in Mali’s Gossi region, the French president’s office said today. The jet was clearly identified even though it had “disintegrated”.

French soldiers taking position in the vast deserts of northern Mali which has fallen under control of ethnic Tuareg separatists. Source: AFP

A Burkina Faso official said investigators saw no survivors in the wreckage, Reuters reports.

A “French military unit has been sent to (the area) to secure the site and gather evidence”, the French president’s office said.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is due to visit the crash site today.

The jetliner crashed on Thursday in a rainstorm — the third major international aviation disaster in a week…

h/t GR.