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France mourns Mali crash victims

media The crash site of Air Algerie flight AH5017, near the northern Mali town of Gossi, 24 July 2014. Reuters/Burkina Faso Military

French flags flew at half-mast on Monday to mourn the 118 victims of the Air Algérie airplane tragedy. The black boxes from the crash will be handed over to the French authorities today.

President François Hollande held another crisis meeting on Monday morning with ministers at the presidency while the national flag flew at half-mast to mourn the victims, like on every other government building in the country.

France has taken the lead in the investigation and the black boxes are expected to be handed over to the French investigators later on Monday.

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were taken to Bamako from the crash site and sent to France on Sunday.

While the black boxes will be examined here in France, experts are still sifting through the remains of the aircraft in the Malian desert site of the accident.

"They will try to glean the maximum amount of information" said Rémi Jouty, head of France's Bureau of Investigations and Analyses agence (BEA). "Their work will take a few days", he added.

Hollande said the bodies of all the passengers on the plane, and not just French nationals, will  be repatriated to France.

"We saw the impact of thecrash, with debris everywhere," said Mali's Transport Minister Hachim Koumare after a visit to the site. "At the moment we cannot speak about human remains", he added.

No one survived Thursday's tragedy.

France lost 54 of its nationals in the crash of the McDonnell Douglas 83.

The Air Algérie plane took off from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and was bound for Algiers when it crashed in northern Mali.

Bad weather forced the pilots to change their route and is blamed for the accident.

On Sunday Mali launched a judicial inquiry into the cause of the disaster, joining efforts from Paris and Ouagadougou.

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