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Pilots of Air Algerie plane “asked to turn back”

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French investigators take charge of wreckage in Mali

The foreign minister of France, Lauent Fabius, says that the pilots of the crashed Air Algerie plane had asked to return to Burkina Faso after initially asking to change course due to bad weather.

The two flight data recorders from flight AH5017 have arrived in France and are being examined by experts.

The plane had been flying to Algeria when it crashed in Mali last Thursday, killing all 118 people on board including 54 French citizens. France is leading the investigation.

“What we know for sure is that the weather was bad that night, that the plane crew had asked to change route then to turn back before all contact was lost,” Fabius explained.

A team of French investigators is currently sifting through the aircraft wreckage in Mali, but Fabius said they were facing “extremely difficult conditions”.

“It’s a long, fastidious and extremely complex job,” he added.

The site has been secured by a UN peacekeeping force. It lies around 80 kilometres south of the Malian town of Gossi, near the Burkina Faso border.

TTG Digital

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