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Air Algerie Flight Goes Missing

FILE - Air Algerie passenger plane.

An Air Algeria flight carrying at least 116 people has disappeared during a trip from Burkina Faso's capital to Algiers.

Algeria's official APS news agency reports the plane was last seen on radar as it flew over the town of Gao in northern Mali (at 155 UTC) on Thursday, about 38 minutes after it took off from Ouagadougou.

There was no immediate word on what happened to the plane, which was chartered by Air Algeria from a Spanish airline, Swiftair.

Reuters news agency quotes Burkina Faso's transport minister, Jean Bertin Ouedrago, as saying the plane had asked to change course because of a storm in the area.

A statement from Swiftair said there were 116 people on board, including six crew members, while APS said the plane was carrying 119 people, including seven crew members of Spanish nationality.

Algerian officials have set up a crisis team at the Algiers airport, while Swiftair said emergency equipment and personnel have been deployed to find out what happened to the plane.

Gao was one of the towns in northern Mali seized by al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants in 2012. The Malian government regained control after a French-led military intervention last year but militants continue to attack French and government troops.