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Contact lost with Air Algerie plane

Air Algerie plane, with 116 on board, falls off radar after requesting route change due to heavy rain

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Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Thursday, July 24, 2014, 10:32 AM - An Air Algerie flight disappeared from radar early Thursday, prompting a search for the missing plane.

The airline's operator says it lost contact with flight AH5017 about 50 minutes after takeoff.

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According to The Associated Press, Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said the plane sent its last message around 0130 GMT (9:30 p.m. EDT), asking Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rains in the area.

"Satellite images showed strong thunderstorm activity just north of Ouagadougou at the reported time of the incident," said meteorologist Nick Wiltgen. "The thunderstorms had been moving southwestward into that area for several hours, so in theory air traffic controllers would have been aware of them and adjusting flight paths accordingly."

France's foreign minister said no wreckage had been found, but that the plane "probably crashed,'' The Associated Press reports.

The plane was headed from the west African nation of Burkina Faso to Algeria.

Officials say at least 116 people we on board including five Canadians.

With files from The Associated Press and CNN

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