In Summary
  • Armed forces chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah attended a ceremony where the coffins of the first victims to be identified were draped in national colours.

  • There was no announcement on the number of people identified so far as experts continued work on matching the DNA of the dead.

  • Several large companies took out advertising space in newspapers to offer condolences to the families of the 10 crew members and 247 passengers who died.

  • Mosques across the country are set to hold prayers of mourning on Friday.

ALGIERS,

Algerians are mourning 257 people killed in a military plane crash the day before, the country's worst-ever aviation catastrophe, with no indication yet of the cause.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced three days of national mourning after the plane slammed into a field near the Boufarik airbase 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Algiers shortly after it took off on Wednesday.

FAMILIES

The aircraft was mostly carrying army personnel and their family members on their way back to their barracks in the country's far south.

Flags flew at half mast on public buildings and foreign embassies in the capital on Thursday as government departments observed a minute's silence.

Armed forces chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah attended a ceremony where the coffins of the first victims to be identified were draped in national colours.

There was no announcement on the number of people identified so far as experts continued work on matching the DNA of the dead.

Several large companies took out advertising space in newspapers to offer condolences to the families of the 10 crew members and 247 passengers who died.

Mosques across the country are set to hold prayers of mourning on Friday.

The Algerian authorities have announced an investigation into the crash, but so far there has been no details of any findings.

The plane, which came down shortly after being refuelled, erupted into flames before it hit the ground, witnesses told AFP.

PILOT

Hundreds of ambulances and dozens of fire trucks with sirens wailing rushed to the scene of the crash, in an uninhabited area where one person was injured on the ground by debris.

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