At least 181 passengers have been reported killed, after a military plane crashed near the Boufarik airbase outside the Algerian capital, Algiers, according to the local Ennahar television station.
The plane, an Ilyushin Il-76, was carrying 200 people, local reports said.
Ennahar TV quoted an Algerian ruling party official as saying that 26 people onboard are members of the Polisario Front, a separatist movement in West Sahara — a territory also claimed by Morocco.
The Latest: Crash of military plane in Algeria kills 181 people. https://t.co/liGTxHuaDj
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 11, 2018
Algerie24, a local news website, said the plane was heading to the western Algerian city of Bechar.
Images posted on an Algerian website showed thick smoke billowing from the site of the crash, as several people rushed to help.
— Algérie24 (@Alg24net) April 11, 2018
Civil protection agency spokesman Farouk Achour also told The Associated Press that the “provisional” death toll from the crash on Wednesday is 181. He said some passengers were “extracted with deep burns caused by the fuselage catching fire.”
He said more than 300 emergency workers are working at the scene.
Algerian TV network Ennahar published images of body bags lined up in a field after the crash.
The crash occurred soon after takeoff from the Boufarik air base southwest of the capital Algiers.