France - Algeria

First results expected in doomed Air Algerie flight

Crash site of flight AH5017 in Mali.
Crash site of flight AH5017 in Mali. REUTERS/Burkina Faso Military/Handout via Reuters

The investigation in the Air Algerie crash in Mali that killed all 116 people on board is proving complicated as the second black box was reportedly not working at the time of flight on July 24.


According to Europe 1 television, France’s Bureau of Investigations and Analyses (BEA) discovered blank tapes when they opened the cockpit voice recorder.

The BEA said that more information would be given at a news conference Thursday afternoon at 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) when French officials are expected to reveal the first results of their investigation in the doomed AH5017 flight.

However, investigators have been able to analyse flight data from the first black box that records altitude, speed and other technical measures.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has already detailed some of what happened to the flight after having taken off on July 24 from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso for a short flight to Algier.

The pilots of the McDonnell Douglas 83 jet had asked to turn back as bad weather complicated its route.

The majority of the victims hailed from France, while other passengers came from Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Algeria, Spain, Canada, Germany and Luxembourg.

French President François Hollande said that the remains of all passengers on the plane – not just the French – would be flown to France.

At the crash site, investigators have grappled with inhospitable conditions and extreme heat.

Forensic experts have taken DNA samples to help identify the victims.

“Scientifically, we have a strong possibility of being able to identify all the people,” said Patrick Touron, deputy head of the French police’s Criminal Research Institute.

Touron added that because the plane dropped at a very high vertical speed the passengers would have been killed instantly and not felt anything.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning