[Photo shows the site of a military plane crash in Oum El Bouaghi Province, Algeria. (Xinhua)]
ALGIERS, (Xinhua): As many as 76 people were killed on Tuesday when a C-130 Hercules military plane belonging to the Algerian Air Force crashed in the country’s eastern Oum El Bouaghi province, a security source told Xinhua.
The plane took off from Tamenrasset airport, some 2,000 km southeast of Algiers, and headed to the Constantine airport, 500 km east of the capital city.
The source said the crash occurred on a 1,400-meter-high mountain between Ain Mlila and Ain Kercha in Oum El Bouaghi province, and that 76 bodies of dead, including four women, were found by the search and rescue unit of the Fire Fighting Department.
A statement of the Ministry of Defense said the crash was likely provoked by the lack of visibility due to the heavy snow fall and strong wind that prevailed in the region.
Earlier in the day, the official APS news agency quoted Colonel Lahmadi Bouguern, a spokesman of the 5th Military Region, as saying that 52 passengers in the plane died and another was found alive.
A local source said the survivor was seriously injured in the head and the leg and died on the way to the military hospital of Constantine.
The statement added that Chief of Staff of the Army Major- General Gaid Salah rushed to the crash spot and ordered to set up a fact-finding panel to determine the circumstances of the accident.
The statement did not clear up the controversy about the real number of passengers onboard the plane. APS reported that the plane carried 77 people, including the crew members, but local media said the plane carried 103 passengers.
Meanwhile, the El Watan newspaper reported that one of the plane’s two black boxes had been found.
Editor: Liu Dan