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Search and rescue crews have found the wreckage of a missing airline in West Africa. A flight from Burkina Faso to Algerie had vanished earlier today. The Air Algerie plane, carrying 160 passengers and crew, was last spotted on radar screens an hour after takeoff. The wreckage and passenger remains were discovered in Mali, just north of that country's border with Burkina Faso. The cause of the crash is under investigation. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton has more.
OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: There are few clear indications of what might have happened to the missing Air Algerie flight. Earlier reports said the aircraft had come down somewhere in the vast Sahara desert, over north of Mali, where there has been recent rebel activity. Aviation officials believe the plane, which apparently asked to be rerouted, have flown into a powerful sandstorm before or after changing course. Heavy rains, thunderstorms and poor visibility were reported. Mali's former colonial power, France, dispatched two Mirage jets to search for the missing plane. The passengers were predominantly from France and Burkina Faso with others representing a dozen more nations. The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, was registered to a private Spanish company, Swiftair, with a crew from Spain. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.