The Air Algerie flight AH5017 that crashed in Mali July 24 killing all 118 people on board appeared to have plunged from a cruising altitude of nearly 33,000 feet right after the pilot directed the aircraft into the storm, Reuters reported citing one of the lead investigators.
Head of Burkina Faso’s crisis committee investigating the crash, General Gilbert Diendere, assumed that the pilot altered course to avoid the storm ahead but was back on the initial route too early, mistakenly believing that the plane was no longer caught in bad weather, according to the radar data.
"Perhaps the pilot thought that he had completely avoided it and wanted to return to the original route," the general said, according to Reuters that quoted French radio RFI. "The accident took place while the plane performed this manoeuvre," he added.
The Air Algerie flight AH5017 went down immediately following the last contact that took place at 01:47 GMT. According to witness accounts, the aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, crashed at 01:50 GMT. “That means the plane fell from an altitude of 10,000 metres to zero in about three minutes, which is a steep fall given the size of the plane,” Diendere said, as quoted by Reuters.
Earlier, June 27, it was reported that Mali authorities launched a judicial investigation as part of international efforts to determine the cause of last week’s Air Algerie plane crash, according to AFP that cited Mali’s Minister of Solidarity and Humanitarian Action Hamadou Konate.
France, which had 54 nationals on board, opened a preliminary investigation for manslaughter led by the commanding general of the aviation police on the day of the crash.
Terrorist act and poor weather conditions have been cited as possible causes of the Air Algerie flight AH5017 crash that went down July 24 en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algeria.