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Eyewitnesses describe moment after crash of Algeria military plane

Eyewitnesses describe moment after crash of Algeria military plane

The death toll in Wednesday's military plane crash in Algeria has climbed to at least 257 people, media reports say quoting civil defence officials.

The plane had just taken off from Boufarik and was heading south to a military base in Béchar.

The Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which is seeking independence of the Sahara, formerly under Spanish rule, said 30 Saharans, including women and children, died in the crash.

"The number of martyrs has risen to 247 passengers and 10 members of the crew, most of whom are members of the army as well as their families", said the ministry statement.

One of four people identified thus far as having died in a private plane crash on April 9 in Scottsdale, Ariz., was Mariah Sunshine Coogan, a resident of West Hollywood.

The cause of the crash was unclear and an investigation was opened.

In October the same year, a military plane crashed in the south of the country during a training exercise, killing the two men on board. One farmer said some passengers jumped out of the aircraft sooner than the crash, in response to the Related Press. "That doesn't make it unsafe, but they tend to need more maintenance", he said.

Dozens of others were earlier reported injured in the crash, which sent dark smoke billowing into the sky.

The aircraft was en route to southwest province of Bechar. Pro-Russian rebels are widely accused of shooting the plane down using a surface-to-air missile but they deny responsibility. Deadliest plane crashesJuly 17, 2014: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 shot down in Ukraine. Earlier in February 2014, a United States built C-130 Hercules military aircraft mainly carrying military personnel and their relatives had barged into the mountainous region of Oum El Bouaghi. There was a single survivor.


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