Police: 1 dead in head-on crash in Orland

ORLAND, Maine (AP) — Police say a 21-year-old man has died in a head-on crash on U.S. Route 1 in Orland, and the weather may have been a factor.

Authorities say the victim was headed north just after 4 p.m. Monday when he lost control and his car crossed the center line, colliding head-on with another vehicle.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the other vehicle was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

Names were not immediately available.

The crash remains under investigation but police say roads were slushy and icy at the time.

Ore. teen convicted in post-rave crash

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — An Astoria, Ore., teenager who was behind the wheel in a head-on crash on U.S. Highway 26 last summer has been convicted of assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

The Daily Astorian newspaper reports 19-year-old Samuel Kitto is scheduled to be sentenced April 1.

Kitto was returning from a rave when his vehicle struck a car driven by Karen Anderson of Eugene, a law school student traveling with her mother on their way back from Cannon Beach.

Kitto and two of his three passengers were seriously injured. Anderson’s mother, Audrey Zibelman, was so seriously hurt that a surgical team had to be flown in from Portland.

Zibelman is chairwoman of the New York State Public Service Commission. She told jurors she has undergone 14 surgeries.

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Information from: The Daily Astorian, http://www.dailyastorian.com

Pa. lacrosse team wins 1 year after bus crash

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — It was a convincing win on Sunday on the one-year anniversary of a tragic day for the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse team.

“We’re playing with a lot of inspiration, with a lot of emotion,” coach Courtney Grove said.

Those feelings poured out during a moment of silence before the game against Tiffin University and then during the match that Seton Hill won, 18-10.

A few players wiped away tears during the brief quiet time to remember their pregnant coach, Kristina Quigley, 30, and bus driver Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown. Both, along with Quigley’s unborn son, were killed when the tour bus the team was traveling in the morning of March 16, 2013, crashed along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Cumberland County.

Nineteen players were injured, and the 2013 season was canceled. The team was headed to Millersville University for a game.

Players have dedicated this season to Quigley.

“I will never forget the words of wisdom we all received from her about lacrosse and about life,” said redshirt sophomore Emily Fagan of Calgary, Canada, in a statement written prior to the game. “Those words are helping all of us remember what is truly important, not only on the field, but off it as well.”

Fagan scored four goals on Sunday.

Dressed in their home uniforms of white tops and black skirts with white trim, it didn’t take long for the Griffins to get into game mode.

The starting lineup was announced with music by hard-rock band AC/DC playing in the background and, within minutes, the ball was in the opposing team’s net.

About 125 spectators cheered on the team during a chilly day under cloudy skies — a large crowd considering it was the final day of the university’s spring break, Athletic Director Chris Snyder said. Many of the people in the stands were family members of players and university athletes, including the men’s lacrosse team.

“I think just them getting back on the field … was a big deal for them,” Snyder said.

Scheduling a game on the one-year anniversary is part of the positive work Grove has done in taking over the team and preparing members mentally and physically for the season, he said.

A game is “a break from the real world” for the players, Snyder said.

The team has tried to keep the season “as normal as can be,” said Grove, who played with Quigley on Duquesne University’s lacrosse team. Grove helped recruit some of the Seton Hill players before heading to Marquette to coach. She returned for this season.

Investigators believe Guaetta fell unconscious when he suffered a medical emergency a mile east of the Carlisle interchange, causing the bus to veer off the road and into a tree. Quigley, six months pregnant with her second son, was seated behind him, and many of the players.

“I think we have shown a great level of competitiveness so far,” redshirt senior Rachel Hilbert of Perkiomenville, Montgomery County, said in a written statement. “We are using what happened last March as motivation and inspiration.”

Hilbert graduated last year but decided to return and take on another major to play lacrosse during the 2014 season. She scored a goal on Sunday.

Team members attended a Mass on campus on Sunday evening in memory of Quigley, her unborn son and Guaetta.

The players are a “strong group of girls” who have been able to rely on each other and release some of their emotions on the field, Grove said.

“I think that’s why we’re playing so well,” she said.

The team’s record is 4-1 this season with 12 games remaining, nearly all of which will be competition within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. It’s the team’s first year in the conference.

“It’s going to be tough, but it’s just going to make us better,” Grove said.

Redshirt senior Morgan Cain graduated last year and took on more courses to play. She had a hat trick with three goals on Sunday.

“Coach Quigley was so enthused about lacrosse — she lived the sport in everything she did — and she considered this team to be part of her family,” Cain, of Fairmont, W.Va., said in a written statement. “We were her girls and we will do everything we can to honor her memory.”

Rounding out the Griffins’ scoring were redshirt junior Emma Simmers of Pittsburgh with six goals; Alessandra Nicholas, a redshirt sophomore from Pittsburgh, with two; and one each from freshman Charlotte Cunningham of Germantown, Md., and redshirt junior Elizabeth Otwell of Orchard Park, N.Y.

Their next match is Tuesday at Shepherd University in West Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

___

Online:

http://bit.ly/1d76TJP

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reachedat 724-837-5374 or

USA-1 leads in Olympic bobsled, Lolo Jones 11th

By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) – The crash didn’t break them, it bonded them.

Lauryn Williams and Elana Meyers laughed off smashing their bobsled into a wall a few days ago, knowing this wasn’t the time to let anything get in their way of winning an Olympic medal.

The gold is right in front of them now.

And for Williams, a special place in Olympic history is within reach.

Williams, a former sprint champion who decided to give bobsled a whirl six months ago, and Meyers lead at the halfway point of women’s Olympic bobsled, which has turned into a three-team race with two of them decked out in red, white and blue.

With Williams using her world-class speed to propel her teammate off the starting line, Meyers made two trips down the Sanki Sliding Center track in 1 minute, 54.89 seconds on Tuesday to open a 0.23-second lead over Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, trying to win their second straight title after getting gold in Vancouver.

USA-2′s Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans are in third, 0.56 back of their teammates, who know anything can happen in Wednesday’s final two heats.

“It feels pretty good but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Meyers, who won bronze in Vancouver pushing for Erin Pac. “Kaillie’s a great driver. Jamie’s driving great as well. It’s not over.”

Williams, a two-time sprint medalist in the Summer Olympics, is attempting to join Eddie Eagan as the only athletes to win gold medals in different sports in both the Winter and Summer Games. It wasn’t long ago that Williams made her first harrowing ride down an icy mountain track, unsure if she wanted to stick with a sport so foreign from the one she’d known.

She’s feeling at home now.

“Anytime I step on any track, ice track, regular track, any kind of track, my goal is to win,” she said. “So I’m not surprised at all. We prepared well, we did everything we’re supposed to do and we know we’re as good as the rest of the field.”

Meyers, of Douglasville, Ga., and Williams, of Rochester, Pa., got off to a shaky start in their first days on the mountain. Meyers crashed her BMW-built sled on their initial training run, and Williams was late applying the brakes the following day and the pair blasted into a wall near the finish, damaging the front end of the carbon-fibered sliding machine.

However, the incident didn’t crack their relationship.

“The chemistry’s been building the whole time, but I think after we wrecked the sled the other day, that’s when it was solidified,” Meyers said.

Williams was grateful for her driver’s patience.

“That was a bonding moment,” Williams said. “She didn’t yell at all. She was emotional about the sled but she didn’t freak. ‘E’ handled it like a pro.”

While one American track star is nearing a medal, the more celebrated one is further away.

This time, Lolo Jones isn’t close.

The former hurdler is in 11th with teammate Jazmine Fenlator in USA-3, 1.84 seconds behind Meyers and Williams and 1.28 seconds out of third.

It’s hardly where Jones had hoped to be for after switching to bobsled to pursue her dream of winning a medal after ballyhooed failures on the Olympic track in Beijing and London.

She’s on an icy one at these games, and to this point, it’s been as slippery as the dry ones she once ran in the summer.

“Everything went as expected,” Jones said. “We knew we would have to fight. We knew it would be four tough runs.”

Jones hasn’t given up, and she’s putting on a brave front despite knowing her medal chances are minuscule.

“I’m just going to take it day by day, for sure,” she said.

So far, this competition has been no different than most during this past World Cup season, with Meyers and Humphries duking it out for first.

Humphries edged Meyers for the overall championship by one point. But the stakes are much higher in Sochi, and although the two are close friends after training and rooming together last summer, Meyers and Humphries are going hard for gold.

“Heather and I had a plan coming in,” Humphries said. “We don’t really look at times. I don’t even know how big that gap is and I don’t care to know. We just stick to us.”

Humphries and Moyse were first on the track Tuesday and made a clean trip, finishing in 57.39 seconds. But the pair barely had time to acknowledge they had set a track record when Meyers and Williams lowered it.

USA-1′s first heat wasn’t pretty, but it was fast: a 57.26-second descent that moved them ahead of the Canadians. The Americans stretched their lead by one-tenth of a second on their second run.

Greubel, of Newtown, Pa., and Evans, of Chicago, can’t be overlooked. The pair had two speedy trips down the course, covered and unaffected by daylong downpours in this new ski resort area northeast of Sochi.

The U.S. team arrived in Russia early to get acclimated to their surroundings and “The Wolfpack,” as they call themselves, brought some drama with them.

Jones’ selection over Katie Eberling and Emily Azevedo was criticized by some who believed coaches were influenced by the track star’s celebrity. Regardless, Jones got the nod, but was then was paired with Fenlator in USA-3, the weakest of the sleek American sleds.

Williams’ pairing with Meyers in USA-1 wasn’t without controversy and risk. The two only raced once together in a World Cup event, and there was some worry that Williams’ inexperience could be a problem. But other than not braking soon enough before their crash in practice, she’s been perfect.

The track star, two runs from being an Olympic bobsled champion.

“I never would have thought I’d be here six months ago,” she said. “And here I am.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

USA-1 women’s bobsled in minor crash at Olympics

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Elana Myers wanted to be first. Just not like this.

Meyers crashed the USA-1 sled on Friday while taking her first bobsled trip down the Sanki Sliding Center track, hardly the kind of start the medal favorite wanted to have at the Sochi Games.

Neither Meyers nor alternate brakeman Katie Eberling, riding in place of Lauryn Williams, were injured in the mishap near the bottom of the world’s longest track.

“That is not a fun ride,” Meyers said with a laugh afterward. “BMW sleds are awesome when they are on all four (runners). They are not fun when they are on their heads. I was the first one to crash one, and now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it withheld the test. I’m glad we could figure that out. It’s amazingly OK, and we were still fast in the second run and it’s good to go.”

USA-1 was the only one of 20 sleds not to finish the first training run. Meyers and Eberling were third fastest in their second run, completing the course in 58.11 seconds. Only the Canada-1 and Russia-1 sleds were faster.

Myers explained she was late going into the 16th of 17 curves, touched the sled on the side wall and crashed.

“It shot straight down and tossed me over,” she said. “Not fun.”

Following the mishap, Meyers and Eberling were checked by members of the U.S. team’s medical staff near the spot where they wrecked. They rode in the back of a truck with their sled to the top of the track and were evaluated again before taking their second run. The U.S. team plans to use alternates during training to keep its top pushers fresh.

A brakeman on the 2010 team, Meyers, from Douglasville, Ga., has crashed plenty of times before. She’s learned the only way to erase the accident from her mind is to get back in the sled and go again.

“The cool thing about bobsled is that there’s that danger and that risk in every single corner,” she said. “I get to say, ‘I crashed, I took it to the face, but I’m going to face my fear, go back up there and do it again. I’m going to go through curve 16 and I’m going to nail it.’”

The women’s bobsled competition begins next week and the Americans have a chance to win multiple medals.

The crash came a day after a track worker was struck by a speeding bobsled and broke both his legs. The unidentified Russian man underwent surgery and is doing well, Sochi organizers said.

Meyers said the U.S. team remains unified after some drama following the selection of the six athletes who will slide in the games and the decisions on how push athletes are paired with drivers.

Meyers is teamed with Williams, a newcomer to bobsled who helped the U.S. win the 4×100-meter relay at the London Games two years ago. Jamie Greubel of Newtown, Pa. is piloting USA-2 with brakeman Aja Evans of Chicago, and Jazmine Fenlator of Wayne, N.J. is driving USA-3 with Lolo Jones, seeking redemption after failing to medal in hurdles at the Beijing and London Games.

The selection of Jones, from Des Moines, Iowa, over Eberling was followed by speculation about who would ride with whom. But now that the U.S. team’s lineup has been set and competition is nearing, Meyers said there’s nothing to worry about.

“It was definitely a relief because I knew there was a possibility that I could push with any one of the three,” shed said. “I know they are all great athletes and just to find out who I would race with was a huge relief. I’m confident in the coach’s decisions and I’m confident that whoever is behind my sled, we’re going to have a fast push.”

Wiscasset man killed in Woolwich crash

WOOLWICH, Maine (AP) — Police say a Wiscasset man was killed and a 17-year-old Boothbay girl seriously injured in a three-vehicle crash on U.S. Route 1 in Woolwich.

Sheriff Joel Merry says a northbound Jeep driven by 45-year-old Walter Crosman struck a Toyota sedan he was trying to pass at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The impact caused Crosman’s Jeep to swerve into the southbound side of the highway where it was struck by a Subaru station wagon driven by 17-year-old Emma Leonard.

Crosman was pronounced dead at the scene. Leonard was taken to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The Toyota driver, a 25-year-old Brunswick woman, was not hurt.

The crash remains under investigation.

Algeria: Plane crash kills 77 but 1 man survives

By AOMAR OUALI and PAUL SCHEMM
Associated Press

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) – An Algerian military transport plane slammed into a mountain Tuesday in the country’s rugged eastern region, killing 77 people and leaving just one survivor, the defense ministry said.

Air traffic controllers lost radio and radar contact with the U.S.-built C-130 Hercules turboprop just before noon and dispatched helicopters to try to find it. The plane was discovered in pieces on Mount Fortas near the town of Ain Kercha, 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Constantine, the main city in eastern Algeria.

The plane was heading to Constantine from the southern Saharan city of Tamanrasset, which has a massive military presence due to its proximity to the country’s unstable southern borders. It was at least 24 years old, according to sales information supplied by its maker, Lockheed Martin Corp.

The plane carried 74 passengers and four crew members, the military said in its statement, blaming poor weather for the crash.

Earlier in the day, Algerian government officials and Algerian state media had reported that the plane had 99 passengers, making for a much higher death toll.

The lone survivor – a soldier – suffered head injuries and was treated at a nearby military facility before being flown to the military hospital in Algiers, a retired Algerian intelligence officer told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Civil defense officials at the snowy crash site said the plane broke into three parts and women and children were among the dead. Military transports in Algeria routinely carry not only soldiers but military families and sometimes even other civilians, if space is available.

Commander Farid Nechad, who was coordinating recovery efforts, told the AP that 55 bodies had been recovered so far but conditions at the crash site were difficult.

“Unfavorable weather conditions and storms accompanied by snow in the region were behind the crash,” the defense ministry said.

The presidency announced a three-day period of mourning, calling the soldiers who had died “martyrs for the country.”

Lockheed Martin’s hulking C-130 Hercules transport, born out of the experiences of the 1950-53 Korean War, has been used by air forces all over the world to help fight wars or save lives in humanitarian situations.

Lockheed Martin confirmed that it sold C-130s to Algeria from 1981 to 1990 and said if Algerian authorities asked, the company would work with them to investigate Tuesday’s crash. It did not release specific information on the age of the plane.

In other crashes involving similar planes, six people died in November 2012 when an Algerian Air Force C-130 crashed into a hillside in France, according to the Aviation Safety Network’s database. In 2003, 10 people died when an Algerian Air Force C-130 crashed after an engine caught fire shortly after it took off from an air base near Boufarik, Algeria, according to the database.

The worst plane crash in Algerian history occurred in 2003, when 102 people were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset. There was also a single survivor in that crash.

Sole survivors of large plane crashes are extremely rare, said Ky Dickens of Chicago, director and co-producer of a documentary on such survivors. Dickens, who began research for her film in 2010, identified 15 sole survivors around the world. She limited her search to commercial planes carrying more than 40 people.

Many sole survivors are either children or a member of the flight crew – a flight attendant or pilot, Dickens said.

Schemm reported from Rabat. Joshua Freed in Minneapolis, Joan Lowy in Washington and Karim Kebir in Algiers, Algeria, also contributed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Algeria: Plane crash kills 77 but 1 man survives – WFSB 3 Connecticut

By AOMAR OUALI and PAUL SCHEMM
Associated Press

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) – An Algerian military transport plane slammed into a mountain Tuesday in the country’s rugged eastern region, killing 77 people and leaving just one survivor, the defense ministry said.

Air traffic controllers lost radio and radar contact with the U.S.-built C-130 Hercules turboprop just before noon and dispatched helicopters to try to find it. The plane was discovered in pieces on Mount Fortas near the town of Ain Kercha, 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Constantine, the main city in eastern Algeria.

The plane was heading to Constantine from the southern Saharan city of Tamanrasset, which has a massive military presence due to its proximity to the country’s unstable southern borders. It was at least 24 years old, according to sales information supplied by its maker, Lockheed Martin Corp.

The plane carried 74 passengers and four crew members, the military said in its statement, blaming poor weather for the crash.

Earlier in the day, Algerian government officials and Algerian state media had reported that the plane had 99 passengers, making for a much higher death toll.

The lone survivor – a soldier – suffered head injuries and was treated at a nearby military facility before being flown to the military hospital in Algiers, a retired Algerian intelligence officer told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Civil defense officials at the snowy crash site said the plane broke into three parts and women and children were among the dead. Military transports in Algeria routinely carry not only soldiers but military families and sometimes even other civilians, if space is available.

Commander Farid Nechad, who was coordinating recovery efforts, told the AP that 55 bodies had been recovered so far but conditions at the crash site were difficult.

“Unfavorable weather conditions and storms accompanied by snow in the region were behind the crash,” the defense ministry said.

The presidency announced a three-day period of mourning, calling the soldiers who had died “martyrs for the country.”

Lockheed Martin’s hulking C-130 Hercules transport, born out of the experiences of the 1950-53 Korean War, has been used by air forces all over the world to help fight wars or save lives in humanitarian situations.

Lockheed Martin confirmed that it sold C-130s to Algeria from 1981 to 1990 and said if Algerian authorities asked, the company would work with them to investigate Tuesday’s crash. It did not release specific information on the age of the plane.

In other crashes involving similar planes, six people died in November 2012 when an Algerian Air Force C-130 crashed into a hillside in France, according to the Aviation Safety Network’s database. In 2003, 10 people died when an Algerian Air Force C-130 crashed after an engine caught fire shortly after it took off from an air base near Boufarik, Algeria, according to the database.

The worst plane crash in Algerian history occurred in 2003, when 102 people were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset. There was also a single survivor in that crash.

Sole survivors of large plane crashes are extremely rare, said Ky Dickens of Chicago, director and co-producer of a documentary on such survivors. Dickens, who began research for her film in 2010, identified 15 sole survivors around the world. She limited her search to commercial planes carrying more than 40 people.

Many sole survivors are either children or a member of the flight crew – a flight attendant or pilot, Dickens said.

Schemm reported from Rabat. Joshua Freed in Minneapolis, Joan Lowy in Washington and Karim Kebir in Algiers, Algeria, also contributed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Algerian plane crash toll: 1 survivor, 102 dead

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Algerian military transport plane slammed into a mountain Tuesday in the country’s rugged eastern region, killing 77 people and leaving just one survivor, the defense ministry said.

Air traffic controllers lost radio and radar contact with the U.S.-built C-130 Hercules turboprop just before noon and dispatched helicopters to try to find it. The plane was discovered in pieces on Mount Fortas near the town of Ain Kercha, 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Constantine, the main city in eastern Algeria.

The plane was heading to Constantine from the southern Saharan city of Tamanrasset, which has a massive military presence due to its proximity to the country’s unstable southern borders. It was at least 24 years old, according to sales information supplied by its maker, Lockheed Martin Corp.

The plane carried 74 passengers and four crew members, the military said in its statement, blaming poor weather for the crash.

Earlier in the day, Algerian government officials and Algerian state media had reported that the plane had 99 passengers, making for a much higher death toll.

The lone survivor — a soldier — suffered head injuries and was treated at a nearby military facility before being flown to the military hospital in Algiers, a retired Algerian intelligence officer told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Civil defense officials at the snowy crash site said the plane broke into three parts and women and children were among the dead. Military transports in Algeria routinely carry not only soldiers but military families and sometimes even other civilians, if space is available.

Commander Farid Nechad, who was coordinating recovery efforts, told the AP that 55 bodies had been recovered so far but conditions at the crash site were difficult.

“Unfavorable weather conditions and storms accompanied by snow in the region were behind the crash,” the defense ministry said.

The presidency announced a three-day period of mourning, calling the soldiers who had died “martyrs for the country.”

Lockheed Martin’s hulking C-130 Hercules transport, born out of the experiences of the 1950-53 Korean War, has been used by air forces all over the world to help fight wars or save lives in humanitarian situations.

Lockheed Martin confirmed that it sold C-130s to Algeria from 1981 to 1990 and said if Algerian authorities asked, the company would work with them to investigate Tuesday’s crash. It did not release specific information on the age of the plane.

In other crashes involving similar planes, six people died in November 2012 when an Algerian Air Force C-130 crashed into a hillside in France, according to the Aviation Safety Network’s database. In 2003, 10 people died when an Algerian Air Force C-130 crashed after an engine caught fire shortly after it took off from an air base near Boufarik, Algeria, according to the database.

The worst plane crash in Algerian history occurred in 2003, when 102 people were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset. There was also a single survivor in that crash.

Sole survivors of large plane crashes are extremely rare, said Ky Dickens of Chicago, director and co-producer of a documentary on such survivors. Dickens, who began research for her film in 2010, identified 15 sole survivors around the world. She limited her search to commercial planes carrying more than 40 people.

Many sole survivors are either children or a member of the flight crew — a flight attendant or pilot, Dickens said.

___

Schemm reported from Rabat. Joshua Freed in Minneapolis, Joan Lowy in Washington and Karim Kebir in Algiers, Algeria, also contributed.

Algerian plane crash toll: 1 survivor, 102 dead

By AOMAR OUALI and PAUL SCHEMM
Associated Press

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) – An Algerian military transport plane slammed into a mountain Tuesday in the country’s rugged eastern region, killing 77 people and leaving just one survivor, the defense ministry said.

Air traffic controllers lost radio and radar contact with the U.S.-built C-130 Hercules turboprop just before noon and dispatched helicopters to try to find it. The plane was discovered in pieces on Mount Fortas near the town of Ain Kercha, 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Constantine, the main city in eastern Algeria.

The plane was heading to Constantine from the southern Saharan city of Tamanrasset, which has a massive military presence due to its proximity to the country’s unstable southern borders. It was at least 24 years old, according to sales information supplied by its maker, Lockheed Martin Corp.

The plane carried 74 passengers and four crew members, the military said in its statement, blaming poor weather for the crash.

Earlier in the day, Algerian government officials and Algerian state media had reported that the plane had 99 passengers, making for a much higher death toll.

The lone survivor – a soldier – suffered head injuries and was treated at a nearby military facility before being flown to the military hospital in Algiers, a retired Algerian intelligence officer told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Civil defense officials at the snowy crash site said the plane broke into three parts and women and children were among the dead. Military transports in Algeria routinely carry not only soldiers but military families and sometimes even other civilians, if space is available.

Commander Farid Nechad, who was coordinating recovery efforts, told the AP that 55 bodies had been recovered so far but conditions at the crash site were difficult.

“Unfavorable weather conditions and storms accompanied by snow in the region were behind the crash,” the defense ministry said.

The presidency announced a three-day period of mourning, calling the soldiers who had died “martyrs for the country.”

Lockheed Martin’s hulking C-130 Hercules transport, born out of the experiences of the 1950-53 Korean War, has been used by air forces all over the world to help fight wars or save lives in humanitarian situations.

Lockheed Martin confirmed that it sold C-130s to Algeria from 1981 to 1990 and said if Algerian authorities asked, the company would work with them to investigate Tuesday’s crash. It did not release specific information on the age of the plane.

In other crashes involving similar planes, six people died in November 2012 when an Algerian Air Force C-130 crashed into a hillside in France, according to the Aviation Safety Network’s database. In 2003, 10 people died when an Algerian Air Force C-130 crashed after an engine caught fire shortly after it took off from an air base near Boufarik, Algeria, according to the database.

The worst plane crash in Algerian history occurred in 2003, when 102 people were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset. There was also a single survivor in that crash.

Sole survivors of large plane crashes are extremely rare, said Ky Dickens of Chicago, director and co-producer of a documentary on such survivors. Dickens, who began research for her film in 2010, identified 15 sole survivors around the world. She limited her search to commercial planes carrying more than 40 people.

Many sole survivors are either children or a member of the flight crew – a flight attendant or pilot, Dickens said.

Schemm reported from Rabat. Joshua Freed in Minneapolis, Joan Lowy in Washington and Karim Kebir in Algiers, Algeria, also contributed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.