: A passenger jet carrying an estimated 116 people that left the west African nation of Burkina Faso headed for the Algerian capitol of Algiers lost contact with ground control radar early Thursday morning .
The exact flight path of the plane—reported as Air Algérie flight AH5017—that left the city Ouagadougou to Algiers wasn’t immediately clear, but its being reported that French fighterjets have been dispatched to look for the plane.
Severe weather was reported in the region and unconfirmed reports indicate the plane may have been re-routed before it ultimately lost contact.
Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedrago, according to Reuters, said that the flight that was en route over Mali had asked to change route at 0138 GMT because of a storm in the area.
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal reportedly told Algerian radio: “The plane disappeared at Gao (in Mali), 500km (300 miles) from the Algerian border.”
“Air Algeria informs that the air navigation services had their last contact with flight 5017 AH ensuring Ouagadougou Algiers bond date 24 July at 1 hour 55 minutes GMT, 50 minutes after takeoff,” the airline said in a statement. “In accordance with company procedures, Air Algeria has started its emergency plan.”
Immediate connections, despite the lack of verifiable information, were being made with last week’s Malaysian Airlines disaster over Ukraine when Flight MH17 was allegedly shot down and resulted in the death of all 298 people on board.
Ougadougou is over two thousand miles south of Algiers in a nearly straight that line passes directly over Mali, a nation where civil unrest and political destabilization followed the NATO invasion of Libya and overthrow of Muhamar Ghaddafi in 2011. It’s possible that the plane was further east, over Niger, however, when it lost contact.