Lyon -

A small town in central France was “devastated” on Friday after hearing news that an entire family who lived there was on board the Air Algerie plane that crashed in Mali.

Bruno Cailleret and Caroline Boisnard, who lived in the 550-strong town of Menet, “were coming back from a trip to Burkina Faso with their two children, Elno, 14 and Chloe, 10,” said Denise Labbe of the local town hall.

Boisnard's mother was also travelling with the family, who had been due to land in the southern city of Marseille.

“Everyone is devastated in the town. We all know the family, who live in front of the town hall. No one can quite believe it, it's like having a bad dream,” Labbe said.

Flight AH5017, which took off early on Thursday morning from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso bound for Algiers with 116 people on board, went missing amid reports of heavy storms.

There were 51 French nationals on the jet, and the airline said 24 Burkinabe, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, six Spanish, five Canadians, four Germans and two Luxembourg nationals were also on board.

The wreckage of the plane was found late on Thursday in Mali near the Burkina Faso border. - Sapa-AFP