Plane that dropped off radar believed to have crashed in west Africa

MALI (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A plane that dropped off the radar, carrying 116 people, appears to have crashed in west Africa.

Reports say wreckage of the Air Algerie flight has been detected in a remote area of the Sahara Desert in Mali.

The plane was flying from Algeria, in North Africa, when it disappeared from the radar during heavy rain early Thursday morning.

Contact was lost just 50 minutes after takeoff, around the time the plane sent a message asking to change its route because of bad weather.

116 people were on board the Air Algerie flight, including 50 French citizens.

It was missing for hours before the news was made public.