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Plane Crashes in Algeria, 17 Dead

June 30, 2003

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ A military plane slammed into a house west of the Algerian capital Monday, killing at least 17 people, including women and children on the ground, rescue workers said.

Fire raged through several houses after the C130 Hercules transport crashed in the neighborhood of Beni Mered shortly after takeoff from the Boufarik military airport, 25 miles west of the capital.

Twelve people on the ground were killed, including two women and three children inside the house that the plane hit, rescue workers told The Associated Press. Five crewmembers also died.

At least five people were injured. Police and rescuers evacuated them to regional hospitals.

It was not immediately clear whether human error, technical problems or weather caused the crash. Witnesses told The Associated Press they saw one of the plane’s engines on fire upon takeoff.

In March, an Air Algerie passenger jet crashed and killed 102 people in the Sahara Desert. The crash was state-run Air Algerie’s first since its founding in 1953, and the lack of experience in coping with airline accidents hampered rescue efforts.

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