At least one person has miraculously survived a plane crash which killed 78 people including women and children.
The horrifying accident took place in Algeria, where a 32-year-old military transporter crashed into mountains in the north east of the North African country during heavy snowfall.
The Hercules C-130 was on route to Constantine from the Sahara Desert garrison town of Tamanrasset, when it came down in Oum al-Bouaghi province.
Army spokesman Farid Nechad said: ‘We’ve found one survivor and the searches are continuing. The area is very mountainous and hard to get to. We fear the worst for those unaccounted for.’
The identity of the ‘extremely badly injured’ survivor has not yet been revealed, said Colonel Nechad, who said the survivor was ‘being rushed to hospital in Constantine’
The plane was on a flight of 950 miles, and had made one stop in the town of Ouargla, before making its descent towards Constantine.
‘Contact with air traffic control stopped just as the plane started its descent,’ said Col Nechad, who said that the plane crashed into the Djebel Fertas mountain, 250 miles east of the capital city of Algiers.
‘The weather was extremely bad – very windy and there was heavy snow’ said Col Nechad, who said visibility would have been ‘extremely poor’.
The plane crashed in a mountainous area in the Oum El Bouaghi province, about 310 miles from the capital Algiers
Col Nechad added that there were 99 passengers on board, mainly made up of soldiers and their families. The crew was made of four people.
One of the plane’s ‘black box’ flight recorders has been found, said Col Nechad.
The Hercules was presented to Algeria by the USA in 1982 as a reward for the part the country played in negotiations during the Iran hostage crisis, which lasted for 444 days between 1979 and 1981.
There have been two other crashes involving ageing Hercules transporters in Algeria in recent months, with pilots being killed.
The worst air crash in recent Algerian history saw an Air Algerie Boeing 737 crash on take-off from Tamanrasset in 2003, killing all but one of the 103 people on board.
In November 2012, an Algerian military cargo plane crashed in the south of France, with all six people aboard dying.
The plane carried five military personnel and one official of the Algerian national bank, the Algerian Defence Ministry said at the time. It had taken off from Paris and was returning to Algeria.