(Yemenia Airways A310) Over 150 feared dead in air disaster

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(Yemenia Airways A310) Over 150 feared dead in air disaster

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Jul 01, 2009

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor ... 38582.html
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
(Yemenia Airways) Over 150 feared dead in air disaster
LARA MARLOWE in Paris

IT WAS as if lightning struck France twice in the same month in the form of an air disaster.

One hundred and fifty-two people are feared dead, including 66 French citizens, after an Airbus 310 belonging to Yemenia Airways crashed on its approach to Grand Comore Island during the early hours of yesterday, just 29 days after 228 people perished on an Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

Rescue workers found a 14-year-old girl, floating in the ocean. “She was shivering with cold,” said Sgt Said Abdilai, who found her. “We gave her hot water, and she started answering questions.” The girl was travelling with her mother.

The Comoros were a French colony until 1975, and most of the passengers were dual nationals or Comorans residing in France, returning to the Indian Ocean island on holiday. The aircraft’s 11 crew were Yemeni, Ethiopian, Moroccan and Filipino.

Sixty-seven passengers had made the entire trip, from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to Marseille to Sanaa, where they changed aircraft, and on towards the Comoros.

A substantial Comoran community live at La Courneuve, near Roissy, but the largest, 80,000-strong community in France is in Marseille, where 78 more people joined the flight. Seventeen passengers were left behind in Sanaa for lack of space on the aircraft.

French officials accused Yemenia of poorly maintaining its planes, which was denied by the Yemenis. It appears that the A310 which crashed was used only for the last leg of the journey because it was deemed unsafe to fly in Europe. Dominique Bussereau, the French minister for transport, said it had been “excluded” from France because of “irregularities”. His Yemeni counterpart claimed the aircraft was serviced in May 2009 and regularly flew to Europe.

Yemenia airline “is not on the blacklist, or it would not be authorised to take off from Roissy,” Mr Bussereau said. “But it was closely watched by us and was to have answered to the EU’s security committee shortly.” Yemenia has been under special surveillance by EU authorities for the past two years.

Poor weather appears to have been a factor in the Yemenia crash, as well as in the Air France crash on June 1st. The plane dropped into the sea about 20km off the coast of Grand Comore island, on its approach to the airport. Yemeni and Comoran sources spoke of winds of 61 knots (113kp/h) and rough seas.

Most airlines, including Air France, stopped flying to the Comoros, and the disaster revealed the overcrowding and frequent delays due to technical problems endured by travellers to the archipelago.

An organisation called SOS-Voyages aux Comores organised a protest demonstration late yesterday in Marseille. “The accident was foreseeable,” said the association’s president, Farid Soilihi. “These planes don’t meet international standards. Yemenia was the cheapest of the ‘junk airlines’ and had a near monopoly on the destination.”

The association had contacted French, Yemeni and Comoran authorities about deplorable conditions on the flights but to no effect. Mr Soilihi spoke of aircraft without seatbelts or air conditioning, blocked toilets and baggage compartments that popped open. “There is absolutely no security on board,” he said.

“Psychological cells” were set up to help relatives at Roissy and at Marignane airport in Marseille.

President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his “deep emotion” and the National Assembly observed a minute of silence. The French military dispatched a Transall aircraft loaded with speed boats, medical and rescue equipment from nearby Mayotte, which remains a French possession. A French maritime patrol boat and a surveillance frigate should reach the Comoros today. The Bureau d’enquête et d’analyses (BEA), which will tomorrow divulge initial findings on the Rio-Paris crash, is sending a team of investigators to Moroni.

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Re: (Yemenia Airways A310) Over 150 feared dead in air disaster

Unread post by Young Pilot » Wed Jul 01, 2009

‘Miracle’ crash girl survived 13 hours at sea
14-year-old who could ‘barely swim’ is conscious after Indian Ocean ordeal

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31678931/ns ... ?GT1=43001
Dream as if you'll live forever; live as if you'll die tomorrow.

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