Plane crash near Comoros Islands

[Peter Paul Media] — Yemenia Airlines flight 626 crashed early Tuesday with 153 passengers aboard, minutes after a failed landing attempt on the Comoros Islands, officials confirmed.

“Yemenia regrets to announce the [crash] of its flight no. IY 626 from Sana‘a to Moroni,” the Yemenia Airlines website said Wednesday. The flight was scheduled from Sana’a, Yemen, to Moroni, the Comorian capital, the airlines flight schedule shows.

The jetliner, an Airbus A310, was on final approach to the island of Grand Comore when it “dived and crashed at sea about one o’clock in the morning [Tuesday] local time,” the website of the Presidency of the Comoros said.

The President of the Comoros, Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, was attending the African Union Summit in Libya when he received word of the crash. He has since returned home.

The Comoron government said the death toll from the crash was 150 people, without providing additional details. Yemenia Airlines put the death toll at 153 people, 143 passengers and 11 flight crew, the airline said in a separate statement.

“A child survivor of the crash of the Airbus aged fourteen years has been rescued off the Comoros,” a government official from the Comoros Islands said. The 14-year-old victim appears to be the only survivor of the crash.

The aircraft was delivered from the production line in 1990 under the registration number 70-ADJ. Since leaving the production line, the plane has logged 51,900 flight hours in 17,300 flights, Airbus said. The plane has been in operation by Yemenia Airlines since October 1999.

This is the second crash of an Airbus jetliner in a month. Air France flight 447 disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean 3.5 hours after departing Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on a flight to Paris, killing 228 people. The cause of the crash is not yet known.

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