A military plane crashed in a mountainous area in the Oum El Bouaghi province in eastern Algeria
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A screenshot from Google Maps showing the site of the crash near Oum El Bouaghi, Algeria.
A screenshot from Google Maps showing the site of the crash near Oum El Bouaghi, Algeria.

Algeria declared Wednesday a three-days mourning period for the 77 victims of a military aircraft crash.

An Algerian military transport slammed into a mountain Tuesday in the country's rugged eastern region. A civil defense official said 77 people on board were killed but one managed to survive.

The U.S.-built C-130 Hercules transport crashed about noon near the town of Ain Kercha, 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Constantine, the main city in eastern Algeria.

Commander Farid Nechad, who is based in Algiers but was coordinating recovery efforts, told The Associated Press that 103 people including the crew had been on the plane. A later report by local media amended the figure to 78, saying that while the plane left Tamanrasset carrying 103 passengers, some have disembarked on a stopover.

He did not give any further details about the survivor except to say the person had been sent to Constantine hospital.

Civil defense officials at the scene told journalists that women and children were among the dead at the snowy crash site. Local reporters said the C-130 plane could be seen broken into three parts.

The plane had taken off from the southern Saharan city of Tamanrasset and was heading to Constantine.

Officials have so far not given an official death toll.

"Unfavorable weather conditions and storms accompanied by snow in the region were behind the crash," the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Winds were 17-28 knots at the time, according to the aviation-safety.net website.

The worst plane crash in Algerian history occurred in 2003, when 102 people were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset. There was also a single survivor in that crash.

In November 2012, an Algerian military cargo plane crashed in southern France, killing all six people aboard.