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Algeria declares three days of mourning after deadliest air crash in years

Algeria is to mark one of the country's deadliest air crashes with three days of mourning. A military aircraft with 78 people on board crashed in the mountainous north east leaving just one survivor.

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Deadly Algeria plane crash

An Algerian rescue team recovered most of the 77 people killed on Tuesday in a plane crash on Mount Fortas, in the country's rugged north east region.

The sole survivor - a soldier - was transported to a military hospital to be treated for severe head injuries.

The office of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced a three-day mourning period to honor the "martyrs" killed in the crash. The majority of casualties were soldiers en route from Algeria's southern military hub of Tamanrasset to the northeastern city of Constantine.

The defense ministry estimated that at least 55 of the victims had been found. The victims included four crew members, as well as some women and children, thought to be family members of military personnel on board.

The C-130 Hercules military transport plane slammed into Mount Fortas - located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Constantine - after losing radio contact with air traffic control just before noon on Tuesday.

"Very bad weather conditions, involving a storm and heavy snowfall, were behind the crash," the defense ministry said in a statement.

Lockheed Martin reportedly confirmed that it had sold C-130 Hercules aircraft to Algeria during the 1980s and would assist authorities there in their investigation of the crash if asked.

In 2003, the southern city of Tamanrasset was the site of Algeria's worst plane crash to date when a civilian airliner crashed during take off. Over 100 people were killed in the accident.

kms,jm/ch (AP, AFP

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