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50 French nationals on board missing Algeria plane

Algeria’s national airline, Air Algerie, has released the nationalities of passengers on its plane that went missing over Mali on Thursday, saying that at least 50 were French.

Twelve Algerians, including six crew members, were on board the MD-83 aircraft, which had been flying from Ouagadougou to Algiers when it went missing on Thursday morning, the airline said in a statement.

Passengers also included 24 people from Burkina Faso; eight from Lebanon; six from Spain; five from Canada; four from Germany; and two from Luxembourg.

There were also individual passengers from Mali, Belgium, Niger, Cameroon, Egypt, Ukraine, Romania and Switzerland, along with three others whose nationalities remain unknown, the press release added.

Air Algerie says it lost contact with Flight AH 5017 – which took off on Thursday from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso bound for Algiers – in the early hours of Thursday.

The MD-83 plane, with 116 passengers and six crew members on board, was chartered by Spain’s Swiftair, which has confirmed that the plane never arrived to its destination.

The flight departed from Ouagadougou shortly after 1:55am (local time) and was scheduled to land at 5:10am (Algerian time) in the Algerian capital.

Air controllers say their last contact with the plane took place some 50 minutes after takeoff.

According to the Weather Channel, Flight AH 5017 entered a stormy area shortly after takeoff that featured “gusts of strong winds and high electrical activity.”

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