Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mali: Update--Flight AH5017 Black Boxes Sent to Paris for Analysis

According to The Associated Press, the black boxes from the Air Algerie Flight 5017 that crashed in northern Mali last week will be transferred to Paris for analysis, the French Embassy in Mali said Sunday (July 27).

The updated death toll has been corrected to 118, of whom 54 were French citizens.

UN peacekeepers located the second black box on Saturday (July 26) amid the wreckage of flight that took off from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and was heading to Algiers, Algeria when it crashed early Thursday (July 24) in northern Mali.

French authorities have said that extreme bad weather was the likely cause of the crash. 

COMMENT: Northern Mali fell under control of rebels, including al-Qaeda-linked Islamist extremists following a military coup in 2012. Though a French-led military intervention last year scattered the extremists from the north's cities, the Bamako-based government has warned of their return in recent months.

French President François Hollande said that he wants the remains of all passengers on the Air Algerie plane to be transferred to France.

Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office said it has sent two identification experts to Paris to consult with French authorities on supporting the effort to identify the crash victims. Officials have said the victims included a German family of four.

The crash site is being secured by 180 French soldiers and 40 Dutch soldiers from the UN peacekeeping mission in addition to Malian soldiers, French Army spokesman Lt. Col. Michel Sabatier said.