Algerian Flight AH5017 goes missing - fears for lives of more than 100 passengers and crew

Officials have confirmed that contact with an Air Algerie flight was lost this morning, and it did not arrive at its destination.

Flying to Algerian capital Algiers, Flight AH5017 disappeared from radar early on Thursday morning at 0155 GMT, just 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in West Africa.

It was scheduled to land at 0510, but did not arrive.

Sources report that 110 passengers and six crew were on board, and an unnamed representative from Air Algerie told AFP that the pilot had been asked to make a detour from his planned route due to "poor visibility and to prevent the risk of collision with another aircraft on the Algiers-Bamako route".

"Contact was lost after the change of course," the source added.

"In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan," Air Algerie officials told APS news agency.

This latest plane disappearance comes just days after an airliner was shot down over Ukraine, sparking fears that the AH5017 may have been diverted and shot down over Mali, where there is significant civil unrest.

The plane is thought to have been in Malian airspace when contact was lost, which is currently considered a "high risk" flight zone by US airlines.

However, AP reports that a senior French official has assured it unlikely that fighters in Mali have access to weapons which could hit an aircraft.

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