Passenger plane that dropped off radar thought to have crashed

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French President Francois Hollande delivers a statment to the press at the Elysee Palace in Paris on July 24, 2014, after an Air Algerie plane with about 110 passengers, including 50 French nationals, went missing after taking off from Burkina Faso for Algiers. A source in Mali said that contact with the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 was lost over Gao in north Mali, a region that was seized by jihadists groups for several months in 2012 and that remains very unstable despite the Islamists being driven out in a French-led offensive. Hollande vowed on July 24 to use 'all military means' in Mali to search for Algerian plane.  (BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Francois Hollande delivers a statment to the press at the Elysee Palace in Paris on July 24, 2014, after an Air Algerie plane with about 110 passengers, including 50 French nationals, went missing after taking off from Burkina Faso for Algiers. A source in Mali said that contact with the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 was lost over Gao in north Mali, a region that was seized by jihadists groups for several months in 2012 and that remains very unstable despite the Islamists being driven out in a French-led offensive. Hollande vowed on July 24 to use ‘all military means’ in Mali to search for Algerian plane. (BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP/CNN) —  An Air Algerie flight with at least 116 people on board that dropped off radar early Thursday is thought to have crashed in Mali, the flight operator said.

Air Algerie said via Twitter that the plane has apparently crashed in the Tilemsi area, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the southeastern city of Gao.

The passenger plane took off from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and was to have arrived in Algeria’s capital.

Air navigation services lost track of the plane 50 minutes after takeoff early Thursday, last sited at 0155 GMT, the agency said.

“In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan,” the agency quoted the airline as saying.

The flight path of Flight AH5017 from Ouagadougou, the capital of the west African nation of Burkina Faso, to Algiers was not immediately clear.

Ougadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.

France’s transport minister said the flight disappeared over northern Mali.

The news comes in the wake of the tragic crash of a passenger jet over eastern Ukraine. That jet — Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 — was carrying 295 people when it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, possibly situated in a portion of the country controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

Turmoil in the skies over eastern Ukraine continued Wednesday, with reports that a pair of military jets were shot down in the same region.