Air Algerie Black Boxes Going to France07/27 10:55
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- Black boxes from the Air Algerie plane that crashed in
northern Mali last week will be transferred to France for analysis, the French
embassy in Mali said Sunday, as officials prepared for the process of
identifying the remains of the dead.
U.N. peacekeepers located the second black box on Saturday amid the wreckage
of the plane that took off from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and was heading to
Algiers, Algeria when it crashed early Thursday in northern Mali near the
border with Burkina Faso.
The crash killed 118 people, 54 of whom were French.
"The two black boxes from the plane will be transferred from Gao to Bamako
and then the Malian authorities will give them to French gendarmes experts so
they can be taken to Paris," said Didier Nourrison, a spokesman for the French
embassy in Bamako.
French authorities say extreme bad weather was the likely cause of the crash
but aren't ruling out other possibilities, including terrorism. Northern Mali
fell under control of rebels including al-Qaida-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 Francois Hollande said Saturday that he wants the remains
of all passengers on the Air Algerie plane to be brought to France. He also
said data from the two black boxes must be analyzed as quickly as possible.
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.
In Burkina Faso, French forensic experts were expected to arrive Sunday to
begin DNA tests on the relatives of victims.
Gen. Gilbert Diendere, a close aide of Burkina Faso President Blaise
Compaore, said that five or six experts would conduct the tests, the results of
which would be used to identify remains recovered from the crash site.
The site is being secured by 180 French soldiers and 40 Dutch soldiers from
the U.N. peacekeeping mission in addition to Malian soldiers, French army
spokesman Lt. Col. Michel Sabatier said.