This photo provided Friday July 25, 2014 by the French army shows soldiers at the site of the plane crash in Mali. French soldiers secured a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, the French president said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason for the catastrophe that killed all onboard is bad weather. At least 116 people were killed in Thursday's disaster, nearly half of whom were French. (AP Photo/ECPAD)
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PARIS — Aviation experts, criminal investigators and soldiers began converging Friday on an isolated patch of restive Mali to search for clues that might explain why an Air Algerie jetliner fell from the sky in a storm and apparently disintegrated on impact.
French authorities said the catastrophe was probably the result of extreme bad weather, but they refused to exclude other possibilities, like terrorism, without a full investigation. All 118 people aboard the plane were killed.
The loss of flight 5017 wiped out whole families. Nearly half of the dead were French. The passenger list included other Europeans, Canadians and Africans. The six crew members were Spanish.
One man pleaded with French officials not to hold back any information about the crash that killed his brother and other family members.
“Tell us. Especially give us an explanation,” Amadou Ouedraogo asked on BFM-TV.
French authorities planned to meet Saturday with victims' families.
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