The flight disappeared from radar after changing its flight path because of bad weather.
Fierce thunderstorms were pounding the region at the time. Known as the inter-tropical convergence zone; a band of unsettled weather around the earth's equator where some of the most ferocious storms can develop.
Weather is suspected as the cause or a contributing factor in the crash of Air Algerie flight 5017. There was trouble on the radar: a massive thunderstorm moving right through 5017's flight path.
"And what is it like to fly into a serious thunderstorm? Well, it can be anything from Mr. Toad's wild ride to the most harrowing experience you can imagine that you don't think you're going to get through it," said Daniel Rose, an aviation expert.
U.N. peacekeepers in Mali have found the plane's second black box.
The French president says the data and voice recorders must be analyzed as quickly as possible to determine the cause of Thursday's crash.