Lebanese delegation head to Mali to identify victims of plane crash
Air Algerie Flight AH 5017 scattered at the crash site in Mali's Gossi region, west of Gao, on July 26, 2014. [AFP]
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An official Lebanese delegation headed on Sunday to Paris en rout to Mali to follow up the probe into the Air Algerie plane that crashed three-days ago and to carry out the necessary procedures to identify the bodies of the Lebanese victims.
Haitham Jomaa,director general of the emigrants dept. at Lebanon's foreign ministry, chaired a delegation to follow up the probe into the crash of the McDonnell Douglas 83, which crashed over Mali on Thursday.
The delegation will reportedly discuss with Malian officials the necessary arrangement to repatriate the bodies of the Lebanese victims to Beirut as soon as possible.
It will also follow up the probe with French experts tasked with the investigations.
Lebanese medical experts had taken DNA samples from the Lebanese victims' families before leaving Beirut, in order to compare them with human remains found at the crash site in Mali.
One family in the southern El-Kharayeb village of Lebanon died in the tragedy -- the third time that residents there had been involved in a plane disaster.
No one survived the impact and entire families were wiped out.
The flight had taken off from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso bound for Algiers.
Travelers from Burkina Faso, France,Algeria, Spain, Canada, Germany and Luxembourg also died in the crash, increasingly being blamed on bad weather that forced the pilots to change course.
France bore the brunt of the disaster, with some 54 French citizens among the overall death toll of 118.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Tammam Salam contacted French President Francois Hollande to request help in identifying the bodies of the 19 Lebanese victims.
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