Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 16:44 UK

Comoros crash: 'We are praying for a miracle'

Relatives of passengers at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport
Relatives of passengers gathered at Paris airport for news

Salim Himidi had three close friends aboard the Yemeni airliner which crashed in the Indian Ocean.

Mr Himidi, 64, a Comoran living in Paris, is at the home of one of the passengers, Osman Abdullah.

Mr Abdullah was flying home to Comoros with his daughter Sabirata, 27, to attend a wedding party.

A third passenger aboard the flight, 29-year-old Abdul Halim Mohammed Abubacar, was also a close friend of Mr Himidi.

The whole family is sat around the telephone, praying for a miracle.

We have not heard any news of Mr Abdullah or his daughter Sabirata.

We are praying and praying and praying. Saying verses from the Koran.

They were travelling back to Comoros to celebrate a wedding - the sister of his son-in-law.

This is a very big blow... It's going to take a long time to heal
Salim Himidi

His wife is there in Comoros, waiting for him. I think she is at the airport even now.

His other daughter is here with me. And a group of well-wishers has arrived at the home, which is in a suburb outside Paris.

We are all praying for a miracle.

Because the fact is that one child has survived. And up until now, we have not had any confirmation that Mr Abdullah and Sabirata are dead.

But we have almost run out of hope.

Rude awakening

I was woken at 5.30 this morning by the news. A friend telephoned me and told me that a tragedy had occurred.

I'm very upset. Mr Abdullah was a good friend of mine.

The Yemenia Airbus 310 that crashed - photo Air Team Images
Yemeni authorities said the plane conformed to international standards

His sister is married to my nephew. And he was in my age group.

He was a man of high standing in the Comoran community. He was considered an elder.

Here in the ghetto we live in outside Paris, he worked for the municipal council, as a street sweeper. But that is the way of things.

We had known each other for a long time.

It's really a big, big loss. We are all feeling a tremendous amount of grief here.

My friend Eddie was also aboard that flight. I call him Eddie - it's short for Mohammed. His name is Abdul Halim Mohammed Abubacar, and he is 29.

Eddie was flying home to see his mother.

It is normal at this time of year for Comorans to return home to see family.

It is a period of a lot of weddings and festivities.

Mothers and fathers will take their children back - to educate them in the traditions and the culture of our homeland.

But the quality of our airlines has been a source of bitterness to Comorans for a long, long time.

This is a very big blow. It's going to take a long time to heal.

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