In a statement this morning French President François Hollande confirmed that there were no survivors among the 118 victims of the crashed Air Algerie flight AH5017. The number given by officials on July 24 was 116, but today, July 25, Hollande said the number was in fact 118.
The wreckage of the plane was found early this morning in the Gossi area of northeastern Mali, 50 kilometers from the border with Burkina Faso. It was located, according to Le Monde, by a Reaper drone sent from a French air base in Niger. France has sent troops to secure the site of the crash and gather evidence.
Hollande said that one of the black boxes has been recovered and was taken to Gao by the French military for examination. According to the latest reports, 51 French nationals were on the flight.
In an earlier statement the French President said the site of the wreckage was concentrated in a “limited space” but did not want to assume the cause of the crash just yet.
“There are theories, notably those linked to the weather, but we don’t want to spread them. It is still too early to draw conclusions,” he said.
Speaking to Reuters, Louis Berthaud, a senior local in Gossi, described how some in the village had witnessed the crash,.“The herders were in the bush and saw the plane fall. It must have been a storm and it was struck by lightning. They say it was on fire as it fell, before it crashed.”
In the statement Hollande announced that the families of the victims will be hosted at Quai d’Orsay in Paris tomorrow “to have all the information that they are entitled to.”