ALGIERS — A total of 257 people were killed, most of them military, after an Algerian military plane crashed near an airbase outside the capital Algiers, according to officials.
The plane came down near Boufarif airport shortly after taking off. The dead include the plane’s 10 crew and 247 passengers, most of them members of the armed forces and their families, the defence ministry said.
Television footage showed crowds and emergency vehicles massing around the smoking and flaming wreckage near Boufarik airport southwest of Algiers.
A line of white body bags could be seen on the ground next to what media said was a Russian Ilyushin transport plane.
Ten crew and other people described as family members also died, and a number of survivors were being treated at an army hospital, the ministry added.
A member of Algeria’s ruling FLN party told the private Ennahar TV station the dead included 26 members of Polisario, an Algerian-backed group fighting for the independence of neighboring Western Sahara – a territory also claimed by Morocco in a long-running dispute.
The plane was heading to Tindouf, an area on Algeria’s border with Western Sahara, but crashed on the airport’s perimeter, Algeria’s defence ministry said.
Tindouf is home to thousands of refugees from the Western Sahara standoff, many of them Polisario supporters.
U.N. attempts to broker a settlement have failed for years in the vast desert area, which has contested since 1975 when Spanish colonial powers left. Morocco claimed the territory while Polisario established its self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic there.
Algeria’s defence ministry issued a statement expressing condolences to families of the victims.
An Air Algerie flight crashed in northern Mali carrying 116 passengers and crew, nearly half of them French, en route from Burkina Faso to Algeria in July 2014.Follow @gorkhapost
23 injured after lava bomb hits Hawaii tour boat
HONOLULU — At least 23 people were injured after flying lava bomb crashed through the roof of a tour boat in Hawaii.
Passengers on another nearby tour boat captured the explosion and can be heard gasping and calling out ‘wow’ and ‘this is the big show’ as the eruption happened.
“Lightning in the plume this morning. Unbelievable! The ocean entry is raging this morning,” witness Ikaika Marzo wrote on Facebook.
Authorities say a chunk of molten rock the size of a basketball was hurtled into the boat as it went on a lava tour off the coast of the Big Island.
According to the report, one woman was in serious condition with a fractured femur, while others suffered burns and gashes on their legs.
There were about 49 people found aboard a boat reportedly, however, the numbers are not confirmed.
The lava is from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, which erupted in early May. An investigation into the matter is underway.Follow @gorkhapost