The two black boxes from the Air Algerie MD-83 that crashed in Mali last week will be transferred to the capital city of Bamako as French troops set up a camp for investigators near the site of the accident.
The devices will be flown to Paris tonight, Didier Nourrisson, a spokesman for the French embassy in Mali, said by phone. The French military force known as Serval sent 14 trucks and armored vehicles to the wreckage north of the Burkina Faso border today. None of the bodies of the 116 passengers and crew has been removed yet, the French military said.
“If the rains continue, they are likely to slow down things because the area is difficult to reach,” Gilbert Diendere, chief of staff for military affairs for Burkina Faso, told reporters yesterday. The flight took off from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, and was headed for Algiers, Algeria.
A French soldier and a journalist look at debris from the Air Algerie Flight AH5017 crash in Mali's Gossi region, west of Gao, on July 26, 2014.
French President Francois Hollande declared three days of mourning starting tomorrow for the more than 50 citizens who died on Flight AH5017 on July 24. Poor weather is the probable cause, though it is too early to confirm, Hollande said yesterday in Paris.
About 220 soldiers from France and Mali and Dutch peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission are guarding the site, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the village of Gossi in northern Mali. It can take about six hours to travel to the site from Gossi because of adverse weather and terrain.
The north is home to separatist Tuaregs who are in peace talks with the government after two years of sporadic fighting. Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda also operate in the area. France sent troops to the region in 2013 to prevent the Islamists from taking over the capital after a coup weakened the government.