Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Two survivors in Yemenia crash

By Nasser Arrabyee 30/06/2009

Sana'a- A 5-yearl old child was found alive among 93 dead bodies picked up from the Indian Ocean where a Yemeni airbus plane crashed early Tuesday with 153 people on board, said Mohammed Abdul Rahman, spokesman of the Yemenia and deputy chairman of the General Authority of Yemeni Civil Aviation.

In a press conference held in Sana'a, Abdul Rahman, said that 93 dead bodies including 26 French, 54 Comoros, a Palestinian and a Canadian and the 11-member crew, were recognized.

The crew included six Yemenis, two Moroccan stewardesses, and three other stewardesses: one Indonesian, Ethiopian, and Pilipino. The Yemeni pilot was identified as Khaled Hajeb and his assistant Ali Atef and engineer Ali Salem Al Qubati.

"A survivor was found in a state of shock," said Adul Rahman, without mentioning what national he was.

Unconfirmed information says here the survivor was the captain Khaled Hajeb, who was born in the city of Aden in 1964. Hajeb, who was among the hostages in Mombai, last November, is a father of three children, two daughters and son.

About the reasons behind the accident, the spokesman for the Yemenia asked the journalists to wait for the results of the investigations.

The official said that the stricken airbus A300-310 entered into service 18 years ago.

According to well-informed sources, the airbus, which crashed early Tuesday while flying from Sana'a airport to Moroni airport in Comoros, flew seven times since Monday 29th June, 2009.

The sources said the crashed plane flew Monday from Paris with 59 passengers on board to Marseille, where it took 59 passengers. Then, it flew to Cairo to take 11 passengers, and three from Jeddah and only one passenger from Dubai.

The crash happened in the seventh flight IY626 which took off at 9:45 PM from Sana'a to Moroni with 153 passengers on board, mostly from France and Comoros. The airports officials said the plane disappeared from radars screens at 1:50 am Tuesday.

The French authorities said the Yemeni carrier had been under surveillance and that problems had been reported with the jet.

However, Mohammed Al Sumairi, deputu director of the Yemenia, said it was inspected only last month.

"The plane was inspected comprehensively on May 2nd 2009, according to the international standards," He told reporters in Sana'a.

On his part, Mohammed Omar, chairman of the syndicate of engineers of Yemenia said, "The long trip and age of the plane has nothing to do with the accident."
Omar said the bad conditions of weather were likely behind the crash.

Yemen sent a team of investigation to Moroni under the chairmanship of the The chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation and board chairman of the Yemenia. The Minister of transportation, Khaled Al Wazeer, is chairing a crisis cell at Saan'a international airport.

The Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh expressed condolences families of victims and to the Comoros and French Presidents on the accident.

The fleet of Yemenia, owned by the Yemeni government and Saudi government 51 %, 49 % respectively, has about 16 jets including four airbus A300-310 and six relatively news airbus and the rest are Boeings.

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