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Yemeni plance crash

June 30, 2009

The 14-year-old sole survivor from the Yemenia Air plane crash has been taken to hospital in the Comoros archipelago after being found alive and in a stable condition. The plane had been carrying 153 passengers and crew.

Yemenia Air planes on the ground
A Yemenia Air flight crashed into the Indian OceanImage: picture-alliance / dpa

"The young girl, aged 14, has arrived at the El Maarouf hospital. We were told that her condition is not worrisome," said Red Cross spokeswoman Ramulati Ben Ali.

Local government officials and members of Yemen's state carrier Yemenia Air confirmed that the Airbus 310, which took off in Yemen, crashed in the sea 15 minutes before a scheduled landing in Moroni, the archipelago's capital.

A Yemenia official said: "The plane crashed in the early hours of the morning several nautical miles off the Comoros islands, with 142 passengers and 11 crew aboard."

"Most of the passengers are French or from the Comoros," the official said, adding that rescue boats had been sent to the scene of the crash to search for possible survivors.

French military planes took off from the Indian Ocean islands of Mayotte and Reunion to search for the aircraft.

"Two French military aircrafts have left from the islands of Mayotte and Reunion to search the identified zone, and a French vessel has left Mayotte," said Hadji Madi Ali, director General of Moroni International Airport.

More bodies spotted

Abdillah Mougni, secretary-general of the Ministry of Transport in Moroni, said rescue teams have so far recovered four unidentified bodies

Earlier Tuesday, Yemeni civil aviation authorities said they had spotted more victims in the vicinity of the crash site.

"Bodies were seen floating on the surface of the water and a fuel slick was also spotted about 16 or 17 nautical miles from Moroni," senior civil aviation official Mohammad Abdel Kader told reporters.

A number of the plane's passengers were on a connecting flight from Paris. At this point, it is unclear whether any passengers in addition to the 14-year-old girl have survived the crash.

The Comoros is an archipelago of three main islands situated about 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) south of Yemen, between Africa's south-eastern coast and Madagascar.

It is the second Airbus to plunge into the sea this month. An Air France Airbus A330-200 flying from Brazil to France crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing 228 people on board on June 1.

Editor: Trinity Hartman

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