Page last updated at 03:23 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 04:23 UK

Girl survives Yemen plane crash

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

Details have emerged about the rescue of the only person known to have survived the crash of a Yemeni-operated plane off the Comoros islands.

A French rescuer said he had spotted the 14-year-old-girl in choppy waters amid bodies and wreckage. He said she was shaking as he pulled her up.

The girl was taken to a hospital in capital of the Comoros, Moroni. Five bodies have also been recovered.

The plane came down in bad weather with about 153 people on board on Tuesday.

The Airbus 310 was attempting a second landing when it crashed.

The rescuer told France's Europe 1 radio of finding the girl.

"We tried to throw a life buoy. She could not grab it. I had to jump in the water to get her," he said.

"She was shaking, shaking. We put four sheets on her. We gave her hot, sugary water. We simply asked her name, village."


Airbus A310-300 aircraft, built in 1990

153 people on board, including 66 French nationals

Flight originated in Paris, using modern Airbus A330-200
Stopped in Marseille before flying to Sanaa
Passengers moved to A310-300
Stopover in Djibouti

Dr Ada Mansour, who treated the child in hospital, told AFP she was conscious and talking, but added: "We are trying to warm her up because she was freezing."

It is believed the girl lives in Marseille and was travelling with her mother to the Comoros.

There were 66 French nationals on board, and the French military were involved in the search.

Most of the plane's passengers had flown on a different Yemenia aircraft from Paris or Marseille before boarding flight IY626 in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

The French transport ministry had earlier said the Airbus 310 plane had been banned from France because of "irregularities".

The crash was the second involving an Airbus aircraft in recent weeks. On 1 June an Air France Airbus 330 travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris plunged into the Atlantic, killing all 228 people on board.

An airline spokesman said poor weather was more likely to have been a factor in the crash than the condition of the plane.

Yemeni Transport Minister Khaled Ibrahim al-Wazeer also told Reuters news agency that the plane had recently undergone a thorough inspection overseen by Airbus and conformed to international standards.

Gen Bruno de Bourdoncle de Saint-Salvy, French naval commander in the Indian Ocean, said the plane had come down about 15km (eight nautical miles) north of the Comoran coast.

Map of aircraft's route

France 'banned Yemen crash plane'
30 Jun 09 |  Africa
In pictures: Yemeni plane crash
01 Jul 09 |  In Pictures
Timeline of Flight IY626
30 Jun 09 |  Africa
Ties that bind: Comoros and France
30 Jun 09 |  Middle East
Air disasters timeline
24 May 10 |  Special Reports
Country profile: Comoros
27 May 11 |  Country profiles

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