All victims identified in Air Algeria crash

The identification of victims from a mysterious Air Algeria crash in Mali in July has been completed, allowing the remains to be returned to their families, the French foreign ministry said on Friday.

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 21, 2014, 23:08 PM IST

Paris: The identification of victims from a mysterious Air Algeria crash in Mali in July has been completed, allowing the remains to be returned to their families, the French foreign ministry said on Friday.

"This identification allows the return to their families of the mortal remains of those who disappeared in this catastrophe and bring an end to a painful wait," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Flight AH5017, a McDonnell Douglas 83 jet that had taken off on July 24 from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso bound for Algiers, crashed in the Mali desert after its pilots asked to turn back as bad weather struck. All 116 passengers and crew killed.

The cause of the crash is still not known. An initial report said the crew was experienced, not hampered by fatigue, and prepared to deal with difficult weather.

France bore the brunt of the tragedy with 54 of its citizens on board. Other passengers came from Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Algeria, Spain, Canada, Germany and Luxembourg.

For a week after the crash, international experts combed the site near the town of Gossi to collect human remains. They later processed some 1,000 DNA samples to identify the victims.

The identification was officially completed on Wednesday with a presentation of findings by the team of French and Algerian experts at the Criminal Research Institute in Paris.

Three enquiries have been opened into the crash: in Mali, France and Burkina Faso.

A report in late September said there were still no solid leads.

"Nothing can confirm or rule out terrorist involvement," said Bernard Boudaille, of France's accident investigation authority BEA at the time.

"No leads are being favoured for the moment."

Victims' families were due to travel to Burkina Faso in mid-November for a commemoration service, but had to postpone their plans indefinitely as a result of the political crisis that broke out in the country.