Contact lost with Air Algerie plane carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso

The missing Air Algerie flight AH 5017 carrying 116 people on board was reported to have crashed in Niger, reported Algerian TV according to The Daily Star of Lebanon.

The plane vanished from the radar on Thursday morning, with at least 20 Lebanese onboard, a source at Lebanon's consulate in Burkina Faso told The Daily Star.

An Air Algerie source told news agencies that the missing aircraft was a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 and there were 110 passengers. Media reports said there were also 80 French, nationals onboard, together with a crew of six Spaniards.

Three of the Lebanese passengers were identified as Fadi Rustom and Joseph Hajj from Aintoura in Metn and Omar Ballan from the Kesrouan town of Ghazir.

The source said contact with the aircraft was lost while it was still in Malian airspace as it was approaching the border with Algeria.

"The plane was not far from the Algerian frontier when the crew was asked to make a detour because of poor visibility and to prevent the risk of collision with another aircraft on the Algiers-Bamako route," the Air Algerie source told The Daily Star

"Contact was lost after the change of course."