Algerian military cargo plane crashes in France

Rescue workers found four bodies Friday amid the wreckage of an Algerian military cargo plane that was carrying six people from Paris to Algiers when it went down in flames in a mountainous region of southern France, officials said.

The twin-engine CASA C-295 plane was carrying a cargo of banknote paper for the Bank of Algeria, according to a source familiar with the matter.

One body was found in the pilot's seat and three others in the cabin, which had become separated from the front of the plane, said Samuel Finielz, a prosecutor from Mende in the Lozere department.

Emergency workers continued to seek the other two bodies after they extinguished the wreckage, which burned for about an hour after crashing.

The plane had left Algiers early Friday with five military officials and a representative from the Bank of Algeria on board, according to an Algerian military statement cited by the APS news agency.

The military said the plane was delivering equipment from France for the Bank of Algeria. It was on its way back to north Africa when the crash occurred.

Around 90 firefighters attended the scene of the crash in a forest clearing near the village of Trelans, the fire service said. The plane crashed just before 1600 GMT.

The plane crashed in a region about 1,000 metres (3,200 feet) above sea level while flying in foggy skies.

One witness said he thought he had seen a parachute in the sky, but a source close to the investigation said the object was in fact a piece of cabin.

The top government official in the Lozere region has travelled to the scene and a crisis cell has been set up, officials said, and a group of experts from a national criminal research agency was expected at the scene Saturday.

It's the second incident involving a military aircraft in the south of France in recent months. In July, a Cougar helicopter carrying six Eurocopter workers crashed, killing all on board.

© 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Nov 9, 2012