At Least 257 Killed in Military Plane Crash in Algeria

Emergency services have been dispatched to the site of the crash. An exact death toll was not immediately available

A screenshot of the Algerian military plane crash.

At least 257 people were killed when a military plane crashed soon after takeoff in a farm field in northern Algeria on Wednesday, officials said.

Victims of the plane crash on Wednesday include 26 members of the Western Saharan Polisario independence movement, an official in Algeria's ruling FLN party said.

FLN Secretary General Djamel made the comment to private broadcaster Ennahar TV but gave no total death toll in the crash, which happened outside Algiers.

The cause of the crash was unclear, and an investigation has been opened, according to a Defense Ministry statement.

Emergency services converged on the area near the Boufarik military base after the crash.

The flight had just taken off from Boufarik, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of the capital Algiers, for a military base in Bechar in southwest Algeria, Achour said. It was scheduled to make a layover in Tindouf in southern Algeria, home to many refugees from the neighboring Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco.

The Soviet-designed Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane crashed in an agricultural zone with no residents, Achour said.