After mechanical delays on tarmac, RCAF transport en route to France, Mali

The Canadian Press

CFB TRENTON, Ont. - A C-17 military transport plane has finally lifted off en route to France as it makes its way to the troubled African country of Mali.

The departure was delayed for several hours today after a pre-flight check found a problem with the original plane and a replacement aircraft was substituted.

An air force spokesman said the problem was not serious, but it was decided to bring in another plane in the interest of safety.

The big, four-engine jet is bound for Istres-Le Tube, a large multi-role French air force base located northwest of Marseilles.

It will then be used to transport gear, supplies and equipment to Bamako, the capital of Mali.

The Canadian government says the plane will be assigned to transport duties for one week and will not go near the combat zone in northern Mali.