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13 April 2018, 02:31 | Brenda Erickson
EMERGENCY Medics at the scene of the plane crash in Phoenix Arizona
The plane was headed to the remote border town of Tindouf, the site of refugee camps for people fleeing the decades-long conflict in the Western Sahara, before traveling on to the city of Bechar, in Algeria's southwest.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, which occurred shortly after takeoff from the Boufarik military airport, 16 miles southwest of Algiers.
Mohammed Achour, the chief spokesman for the civil protection agency, said the Russian-designed Il-76 military transport plane had been carrying soldiers.
Footage from the scene showed thick black smoke coming off the field, ambulances and Red Crescent vehicles arriving at the crash site and body bags lined up in the field.
Algerian soldiers and rescuers stand near the wreckage of a military transport aircraft that crashed in Boufarik, about 30Kms south the capital Algiers, Algeria on Wednesday.
Several large companies took out advertising space in newspapers to offer condolences to the families of the 10 crew members and 247 passengers who died.
It is also the second-deadliest plane crash since 2003. Tindouf is home to many refugees from the neighboring Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco. "The pilot avoided crashing on the road when he changed the flight path to the field", Abd El Karim, a witness, told the private Ennahar TV station.
Algeria President Abdelaziz Bouteflika declared three days of national mourning and prayers for the dead on Friday. It was carrying members of Algerian air force and their families. Their bodies were taken to the Algerian army's central hospital in Ain Naadja for identification.
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