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Flight Crew Killed By Al Qaeda Affiliate After Storming Hotel In Mali

November 21, 2015 - On Friday, about 7 AM, gunmen carrying AK-47 rifles stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, West Africa killing at least 21 people. It has been reported that over 170 people including flight crew members were being held hostage. An al Qaeda-affiliated group has taken responsibility for the killings.

At the time of the shooting flight crews from Air France, Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Turkish Airlines were staying at the hotel. As a precaution Air France canceled all its flights on Friday to and from Bamako. Turkish Airlines reported that at least seven of its crewmembers were at the hotel on Friday.

The Islamist militant group, Al Mourabitoun claimed to be partly responsible for the attack in retaliation for government aggression in northern Mali. One of the demands the group has made is the release of prisoners in France.


Reports indicate that gunmen stormed the hotel shooting at guests indiscriminately without asking a question and were shouting "Allahu akbar" and “God is great!”. One guest reported the gunmen were shooting at anything that moved, the gunmen's accents sounded like they were from northern Mali.

One guest reported some of the gunmen exited a car that had diplomatic plates. Another guess reported the gunman asked some of the hotel guess to recite the Koran and if they did so the gunmen would not harm them. The guest further stated she saw a hotel guess get shot that is when she ran for cover.

U.N. and Malian security forces eventually stormed the hotel but not before dozens of people were trapped in the hotel for hours. In addition to the death toll, at least six people were injured in the attack have been hospitalized. French Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian said, the leader of the group was more likely to be Mokhtar Belmokhtar but the French are not "entirely sure."



The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) released a press release in which they stated "This hostage situation shows once again that crews who are in transit or on a layover can find themselves in the front line, in areas where the security situation is very difficult to predict and has the potential to change rapidly. "IFALPA therefore reminds all operators of the need to include in their security program;

• a statement that each flight and layover should be subject to the decision of the pilot-in-command; taking account the latest available intelligence provided
• a continuous threat assessment and risk management of their destinations
• security measures for crew members during transits and layovers, including but not limited to transport to and from the hotel.
• provisions for extracting crews in specific circumstances such as terrorist attacks or civil unrest."

Russian air carrier Volga-Dnepr Airlines released a press release that stated - On 18-19 November, an AN-124-100 aircraft operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines was carrying construction machinery from Oslo (Norway) to Bamako (Mali). After completion of the transportation, 12 employees of the Airline were staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel to rest before their next flight.  

Six Volga-Dnepr crew members were rescued during the rescue operation by Special Forces and they are now staying safe onboard the aircraft within the airport’s protected area. Today, November 21, the victims of the tragedy were identified with the assistance of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Mali and we are deeply saddened to have to confirm that six Volga-Dnepr crew members lost their lives during the terrorist attack in Bamako.

The Airline’s Flight Operation Control Center is working with the Embassies of the Russian Federation and France in Mali and a Boeing 737 aircraft is being prepared to fly to Mali to bring our deceased colleagues back home to Russia. At this time, our priority is to provide the utmost support, comfort and assistance to the relatives of the Volga-Dnepr employees killed in the tragic events in Mali. The air carrier Volga-Dnepr Airlines has identified the six Russians that were killed.  

- Alexander V. Kononenko AN-124-100 Flight Navigator
- Vladimir V. Kudryashov AN-124-100 Radio Operator
- Konstantin V. Preobrazhenskiy AN-124-100 Flight Engineer
- Sergey A. Yurasov Load Master
- Stanislav N. Dumanskiy Aircraft Mechanic, Airframe and Engines
- Pavel A. Kudryavtsev Aircraft Mechanic, Airframe and Engines

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