2nd ‘black box’ found from Air Algerie crash in Mali, U.N. official says
(CNN) — France has declared a three-day mourning period to commemorate the victims of the Air Algerie Flight 5017 crash, French President Francois Hollande declared on Saturday.
Following a meeting with families of the victims, Hollande said flags will fly at half-staff on government buildings from Monday through Wednesday.
Fifty-four of the 118 victims were French nationals.
The second flight data recorder from has been found in Mali, a U.N. official said Saturday.
A team from the U.N. mission to Mali, known as MINUSMA, is assisting the Malian authorities, at the request of that country’s government, spokeswoman Radhia Achouri said.
There were no survivors of the flight, which took off Thursday from Burkina Faso bound for Algeria.
Accounts of the number of people on board continue to differ. Air Algerie says 117 passengers and six crew were on the plane, but France says there were 118 victims in total. The Algerian government said there were 116 passengers and six crew.
The wreckage was found in what Hollande said was a “disintegrated state” in Mali’s Gossi region, not far from the border with Burkina Faso.
The first data recorder, or black box, was found at the crash site on Friday. The cause of the crash is not yet confirmed, but weather may have been a factor.
Less than an hour into the flight, the aircraft, an MD-83, disappeared from radar after changing its flight path because of bad weather, officials said.
The U.N. mission’s support includes logistics, transportation, technical and scientific expertise, as well as help securing the crash site, which is in a remote and inaccessible location.
“Our experts assists the Malians and the French in the search of the site, collecting bodies, providing body bags and in securing the site aiming to speed up the work,” said Achouri.
As part of French efforts to assist, 33 French forensic experts arrived at the crash site Saturday.
By Katarina Hoije and Laura Smith-Spark