BOUFARIK, Algeria. An Ilyushin Il-76 plane crashed shortly after taking off from Boufarik military airport near Algiers, the capital city of Algeria, killing all 257 people on board, including army personnel and their families, 30 Western Sahara and 26 Polisario Front members being relocated, and a 10-member flight crew, officials say.
The Algerian army, part of the larger Algerian People’s National Armed Forces (Armée nationale populaire) was operating the Il-76 multi-purpose, four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter, produced by the Ilyushin Aviation Complex Joint Stock Company in Moscow and Tashkent Aircraft Production Corp. in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as a medium-range military transport aircraft.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. Witnesses at the scene described seeing one of the aircraft’s wings catch fire during takeoff, before the military transport aircraft narrowly missed a public highway and crashed in an open field.
Today’s crash is being called the worst air disaster in Algeria’s history. In turn, Algerian government have declared three days of national mourning.
Exactly two months prior, an aircraft crashed with what industry pundits are regarding as similar circumstances and conflicting accounts. On 11 Feb. 2018, an Antonov AN-148 regional passenger jet operated by Saratov Airlines carrying 71 people, including 65 passengers and 6 crew members, crashed and caught fire minutes after takeoff from Moscow's Domodedovo airport, killing everyone on board, officials at the Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsiya) confirm. The cause of that accident is also still under investigation; eyewitnesses described an explosion in air, while officials say the aircraft did not catch fire until it crashed shortly after takeoff.
Read more about the fatal crash on Feb. 11 at http://www.intelligent-aerospace.com/articles/2018/02/regional-jet-crashes-burns-in-russia-soon-after-takeoff.html
Images courtesy Ennahar TV.