February 11, 2014 (by Asif Shamim) - A C-130 transport plane belonging to the Algerian Air Force crashed today in the East of the country. Officials have told the press that over 70 people on board were killed, with only one survivor.
The state news agency reported the C-130H-30 (#7T-WHM
) was flying between the Southern city of Tamanrasset to Constantine in the East of Algeria when it crashed near the town of Ain Kercha in the province of Oum El Bouaghi in the Djebel Fertas mountains.
Commander Farid Nechad, based in Algiers, said 55 bodies have been recovered so far from the crash and everyone besides the survivor is presumed dead.
Civil defense officials at the scene of the crash told journalists that women and children were among the dead at the snowy crash site about 50 kilometres south of Constantine. Most of the passengers are believed to be off-duty military personnel and their families.
Colonel Lahmadi Bouguern, spokesman for the eastern military region, told the state news agency the crash was caused by a lack of visibility and the strong winds that have buffeted the region the past few days. Winds were 17-28 knots at the time, according to the aviation-safety.net website.
The Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has declared three days of national mourning
The worst plane crash in Algerian history occurred in 2003, when 102 people were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset.
That same year C-130H #7T-WHQ
crashed shortly after takeoff from Boufarik Airport, after an engine caught fire. The plane crashed into the Beni Mered district on the outskirts of Blida, destroying at least four houses. All five crew and ten people on the ground were killed.