ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Officials say heavy rain has been reported in the area where a plane carrying 116 people disappeared from radar today over the African country of Mali. The Air Algerie flight was on its way from neighboring Burkina Faso to Algeria.
France's transport minister says the crew's last message asked air control to change the plane's route because of the heavy rains in the area.
The plane was being operated by the Spanish airline Swiftair. Burkina Faso's transport minister says 50 French nationals were among those on board.
The plane had been missing for hours before the news was made public.
Mali is between Burkina Faso and Algeria. Unrest has plagued the northern part of Mali in recent years. But a senior French official says it seems unlikely that fighters in Mali would have the kind of weapons that could shoot down a plane.
Authorities say a flight operated by Air Algerie carrying 110 passengers and a crew of six has disappeared from the radar on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers.
The official Algerian news agency said air navigation services lost track of the Swiftair plane 50 minutes after takeoff - at 0155 GMT. Flight AH5017 had been missing for hours before news was made public.
Swiftair, the private Spanish airline, confirmed that 116 people were aboard.
"In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan," the agency quoted the airline as saying.
The flight path of Flight AH5017 from Ouagadougou, the capital of the west African nation of Burkina Faso, to Algiers was not immediately clear.
Ougadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.
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