Algiers: An Algerian military aircraft carrying around 250 army personnel crashed shortly after taking off from an airbase outside the capital. The unfortunate Ilyushin II-76 aircraft crashed near Boufarik air base.
Eye-witnesses reported that they saw thick black smoke rose from the wreckage of the aircraft which crashed in a field near the Boufarik air base. Dozens of ambulances and fire trucks rushed to the accident site.
Algerian Plane Crash – Several Casualties and Injured
According to defense ministry, a total of 257 people are killed in the tragic plane crash. Most of them are army personnel. Ten crew members along with some passengers described as family members also died. The survivors were being treated at an army hospital. According to Ennahar TV station, the casualties included 26 members of Polisario, an Algerian-backed group fighting for the independence of Western Sahara.
The aircraft was heading towards Tindouf, near Algerian border with Western Sahara, but unfortunately met with an accident and crashed within airport’s perimeter. Tindouf is home to refugees from Western Sahara, many of them Polisario supporters. U.N. attempts for settlement in this disputed desert area have failed for years, which have been problematic since 1975 when Spanish colonial powers left. Morocco claimed the territory while Polisario established its self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic there.
Algeria’s defense ministry has issued a condolence message to the victims of the deceased and injured personnel’s family.