The Air Algerie jet carrying 116 people that vanished from radar shortly after takeoff late Wednesday night has crashed in Mali, said a French Defense Ministry official. The official also said that two French fighter jets have located the wreckage.
Air navigation services lost track of the Swiftair MD-83 about 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 9:55 p.m. ET on Wednesday. This means that the flight went missing hours before the news made headlines.
Swiftair, a private Spanish airline, said the plane carrying 110 passengers and six crew members.
Cuban President Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro, is believed to have been aboard the flight and among the dead. Mariela Castro is the niece of the former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Ougadougou Airport had initially said that Ms. Castro was aboard the plane. Cuban officials are currently investigating. Mariela Castro runs an LGBT non-profit in Cuba and may have been in the area doing charity work for the HIV/AIDS cause.
Update 1: Some sources are now saying that Ms. Castro was not on the plane. However, ABC and CNN continue to report that she was but has not officially confirmed it.
Update 2: Spanish news station Univision is reporting that Cuban government officials are saying that Ms. Castro is alive and in Cuba.
Update 3: The Cuban President’s daughter was NOT aboard the Air Algerie flight that crashed.