ALGIERS, Algeria — An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation disaster in a week.
The plane, owned by Spanish company Swiftair and leased by Algeria's flagship carrier, disappeared from radar screens less than an hour after takeoff, en route from Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou to Algiers.
French fighter jets, U.N. peacekeepers and others hunted for signs of wreckage of the MD-83 plane in the remote region, where scattered separatist violence may hamper an eventual investigation into what happened.
The wreckage was found about 31 miles from the border of Burkina Faso near the village of Boulikessi in Mali, a Burkina Faso presidential aide said.
"We sent men with the agreement of the Mali government to the site and they found the wreckage of the plane with the help of the inhabitants of the area," said Gen. Gilbert Diendere, a close aide to Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore and head of the crisis committee set up to investigate the flight.
"They found human remains and the wreckage of the plane totally burnt and scattered," he said.
More than 50 French were onboard the plane along with 27 Burkina Faso citizens and passengers from a dozen other countries. The flight crew was Spanish.
The plane sent its last message about 8:30 p.m. CDT, asking Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rains in the area, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.