x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Child survives Yemen plane crash

Rescuers have found a child survivor of a Yemeni airliner that crashed off the coast of the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros.

Rescuers have found a child survivor of a Yemeni airliner that crashed off the coast of the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros, a hospital official said. "A child was found alive. He is now on a rescuer's boat," said Ben Imani, a doctor at Moroni's main hospital said. A Comoros Red Cross official confirmed the rescue. "We have all that is needed, drips, equipment, to assist the child immediately," said Al fachad Salim. It was not immediately clear if the child was the same survivor reported earlier in Sanaa by a Yemenia airline official. The Yemeni Airbus A310 jet, carrying 153 people, crashed into stormy seas as it came into land in the Comoros islands - the second Airbus to crash in an ocean in less than a month. Bodies and wreckage from the Yemenia airline flight were spotted in the Indian Ocean near the island archipelago capital, Moroni, aviation officials said. A rescue operation was launched to try to find survivors. There were 142 passengers and 11 crew on the Yemenia airline flight which had started in Paris early Monday and had made stops in Marseille, Sanaa and Djibouti, an official with the carrier said.

France's Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said Yemenia was a company "under surveillance" and that "numerous faults" had been recorded on the jet involved. The director of Moroni international airport, Hadji Ali, said the control tower lost contact with Flight IY 626 just before it was due to land and confirmed that there was bad weather. French civil aviation officials said 66 passengers were French. Three infants were also among the passengers, officials said.

Rescue boats were sent to the scene and France sent two navy ships and a plane from its nearby Indian Ocean territories to help. But the stormy weather that the plane was going through when it disappeared from radar screens also hampered the rescue. "A small plane flew over the scene and the pilot spotted debris and the craft," said Nourdine Bourhane, the Comoros government's secretary general. "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," a senior Yemeni civil aviation official Mohammad Abdel Kader told reporters in Sanaa.

Mr Kader said the wind was blowing in gusts of up to 115 kilometers an hour when the disaster happened. "Weather conditions were bad," he said. "The sea was rough." The Yemenia flight left Sanaa at 9.45pm (6.45pm GMT) on Monday and contact was lost at 1.51am on Tuesday (10.51pm GMT on Monday), Mr Kader said. "Yemenia regrets to announce the missing of its flight No IY626 from Sanaa to Moroni with 142 passengers and 11 crew onboard Airbus 310-300," the airline announced on its website.

Mr Kader said the 11 crew were made up of various nationalities. *AFP