An Algiers-bound passenger plane disappeared from radar over West Africa less than an hour after taking off from Burkina Faso early Thursday morning, Algeria's state-run news agency is reporting. The news agency didn't provide details about how many passengers or crew are on board Air Algerie Flight 5017, but Swedish airplane-tracking site Flightradar24 puts the count as 110 passengers and six crew members. Spain's Swiftair, which owns the Air Algerie-operated MD-83 aircraft, confirmed the passenger and crew numbers.
A straight flight path from Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital, to Algiers would take AH5017 directly over Mali, a country with violent unrest in the north of the country. But a senior French official tells the Associated Press that the fighters in Mali almost certainly don't have weaponry that could take down a commercial jetliner at cruising altitude.
UPDATE: Air Algerie has confirmed via Twitter that the plane crashed about 40 miles from Gao, a city in eastern Mali. No additional details have been provided yet.
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