257 dead as Algerian aircraft crashes near capital

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Firefighters and civil security officers work at the scene of a fatal military plane crash in Boufarik, near the Algerian capital, Algiers, Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

Algerian TV Dzair said five people were in a critical state but it's unclear whether they were inside the plane when it crashed.

Television footage showed crowds gathering around the smoking and flaming wreckage near Boufarik airport southwest of Algiers.

The plane was bound for Tindouf in southern Algeria, a region bordering the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

The ministry said that most of the victims were soldiers and their relatives and that the victims' bodies were transported to the Algerian army's central hospital in the town of Ain Naadja for identification.

'There are more than 100 deaths.

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A military transport aircraft crashed near Algeria's Boufarik Air Base Wednesday morning, killing at least 257 people, according to Algeria's defense ministry. This would make it the most deadly crash in Algerian history and one of the worst 10 aviation accidents of all time.

The Soviet-designed Il-76 military transport plane crashed in a farm field with no people nearby, Achour said. The plane crashed shortly after taking off from an airbase outside the capital Algiers.

Images posted on the social media networks show a thick plume of smoke rising from the site of the incident as rescuers and ambulances rush to the site.

Emergency services later confirmed that the death toll now sits at 257.

Earlier the news website TSA-Algerie cited a provisionary toll from civil protection of 105. It is widely used for both commercial freight and military transport.

Four years ago a plane carrying military personnel and family members crashed in Algeria, killing 77 people.