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Air Algerie Black Boxes Arrive in France

A French flag flying at half-mast at the Grand Palais in Paris, July 28, 2014.
A French flag flying at half-mast at the Grand Palais in Paris, July 28, 2014.

The Air Algerie black boxes have arrived in France where flags are flying at half-staff for the people who died when the passenger plane crashed in northern Mali last week.

The investigation into the Air Algerie crash is taking place on two continents.

In the remote desert of northern Mali, experts are examining the remnants of the airplane that crashed early Thursday killing 118 people, including 54 French nationals.

And in France, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters an international team will begin examining the contents of the plane's black boxes, which arrived in Paris early Monday.

"Bad weather was certainly a factor in the crash. The crew had asked to change routes and then to turn back before contact was lost, but all possible causes for the crash would be examined. These could include a bomb, technical failure or pilot error," said Fabius.

The Air Algerie flight from Ouagadougou to Algiers disappeared from the radar screens early Thursday, just 50 minutes after takeoff. A day later, French military searchers found the plane's charred fragments in a remote, deserted area of northern Mali.

The investigators in Mali were operating under extremely difficult conditions, including soaring temperatures. The crash remains are 'pulverized.' Identification of the bodies will take place in France where experts will do their utmost to return them to their families," said Fabius.

Transportation Minister Frederic Cuvillier offered more details about the examination of the black boxes.

"Depending on their condition, it will take several weeks to analyze their information," said Cuvillier.

Flags are flying at half-staff on French government buildings in honor of the crash victims, who included Africans, Europeans and Canadians.