1. ITV Report

At least 257 dead after military plane crash in Algeria

Many feared dead after a military plane carrying soldiers crashed in a farm field in northern Algeria. Credit: AP

At least 257 people have been killed after a military plane, carrying soldiers and their families, crashed in northern Algeria on Wednesday.

Algeria's defence ministry said in a statement that 247 passengers and 10 crew members were killed when the plane crashed soon after take-off.

It said most of the victims are soldiers and their relatives.

The death toll is "provisional" and some survivors were "extracted with deep burns caused by the fuselage catching fire," said civil protection agency spokesman Farouk Achour.

He added that more than 300 emergency workers are working at the scene, a farm field in Boufarik, close to capital Algiers.

Victims' bodies have been transported to the Algerian army's central hospital in the town of Ain Naadja for identification.

The Soviet-designed Il-76 military transport plane, headed for Bechar, was carrying soldiers. Credit: AP

The cause of the crash is unclear and an investigation has been opened, according to a Defence Ministry statement.

The Soviet-designed Il-76 plane has been in production since 1970s and has an overall good safety record. It is widely used for both commercial freight and military transport.

It was scheduled to stop off in Tindouf, southern Algeria, home to many refugees from the neighbouring western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco.

Firefighters and soldiers at the scene of a fatal military plane crash near Boufarik military base. Credit: AP

It was the first crash of an Algerian military plane since February 2014, when a US-built C-130 Hercules turboprop slammed into a mountain, killing at least 76 people and leaving just one survivor.

The previous deadliest crash on Algerian soil occurred in 2003, when 102 people were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset. There was a single survivor.