Air Algerie flight seen 'falling' in northern Mali: official

Ouagadougou (AFP) - A missing Air Algerie plane with 116 people on board was seen "falling" in the region of Gossi, in northern Mali, the head of the emergency investigation into the flight said on Thursday.

"A witness informed us they had seen the plane falling at 0150 (GMT and local time Thursday)," said General Gilbert Diendiere, coordinator of the crisis unit established in Ouagadougou to try and find the jet.

"We are in contact with the witness and we intend to survey the site" to verify the information, he added.

"We believe this information is accurate as we have compared it to radar images showing the flight path until the plane disappeared," Diendiere said.

The witness had indicated the plane may have crashed 80 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of the town of Gossi, "and that is where we will strengthen our search", Diendiere added.

Air Algerie said on Thursday that it lost contact with the aircraft flying from Ouagadougou to Algiers 50 minutes after it took off from the Burkina Faso capital.

An airline source in Algiers told AFP that the plane was over northern Mali when contact was lost.