257 soldiers killed as Algerian military plane crashes soon after take-off from Boufarik airport


The death toll in the Algerian military aircraft crash crossed 250 as the emergency services continued to clear the rubble, the reports said. The Iliouchine-type plane had crashed in the agricultural fields moments after the take-off from Boufarik airport near the capital Algiers. The Algerie Presse service agency said the plane was headed for Bechar in south-western Algeria.

The cause of the crash was unclear, and an investigation has been opened, according to a Defense Ministry statement.

Emergency services converged on the area near the Boufarik military base after the crash.

All passengers on the plane were soldiers. Civil protection agency spokesman Farouk Achour told The Associated Press said that more than 300 emergency workers are working at the scene.

The Defense Ministry did not provide a death toll but expressed condolences to the victims’ families.

The flight had just taken off from Boufarik, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) southwest of the capital Algiers, for a military base in Bechar in southwest Algeria, Achour said. It was scheduled to make a layover in Tindouf in southern Algeria, home to many refugees from neighbouring Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco.

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