A man walks through the wreckage of an Algerian military transport plane which slammed into a mountain in the country's rugged eastern region. Picture: Anis Belghoul


Algiers, Algeria - The head of Algeria's civil defence says recovery operations for a military transport that crashed on Tuesday are complete despite the difficult conditions.

The C-130 transport crashed on Tuesday into Mount Fortas in eastern Algeria, about 500 kilometres from the capital, killing 77 people on board, including three women and a girl, according to the defence Ministry.

The sole survivor is a 21-year-old soldier who is in a coma after sustaining head injuries.

Colonel Mohammed Lehbiri told state radio on Thursday that all the bodies were recovered at an altitude of 1 500 meters with snow on the ground.

When questioned over why civil defence had given a lower toll than the military with 76 dead, Lehbiri said it was “indecent” to quibble over numbers.