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The Airbus 310 went down, carrying 142 passengers and 11 crew members

Child found alive after Yemenia Airways plane crashes in sea

Searchers have recovered the bodies of three people who were aboard a Yemenia Airways jet that crashed off the coast of Comoros in the Indian Ocean, a spokesman for Yemen’s Civil Aviation department said Tuesday. A man hugs a relative of one of the victims at an airport in Marseille in southern France.

Capt. Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Qadir also told reporters that a child who was reported found alive was a 14-year-old girl. "The French said that (Wednesday) they will send more French units to the accident location in order to retrieve the bodies and possibly that they may be able to locate people who are still alive," he said.

The Airbus 310 went down early Tuesday, carrying 142 passengers and 11 crew members on a flight that originated in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. Qadir said the jet took off from Sanaa shortly before 10 p.m. Monday and vanished from radar when it was about 16 miles from Comoros’ capital, Moroni. Most of the plane’s passengers had flown on a different Yemenia aircraft from Paris or Marseille before boarding flight IY626 in Sanaa.

Searchers have not located the plane’s data recorders, Qadir said, and investigators were not speculating on the cause of the crash. "The weather conditions were indeed very troubling and the winds were very strong, reaching 61 kilometers per hour (38 mph)," he said. "That’s one thing. The other thing was that the sea was very rough when the plane approached landing at Moroni airport." But French Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau noted that several years ago France banned the plane, a A310-300, because of safety concerns. "People are talking about poor weather conditions, but for the moment, we are unsure," Bussereau said. "It seems the plane may have attempted an approach, put on the gas, and attempted another approach, which then failed. For the moment, we must be careful because none of this information is verified."

Qadir said it was too early to blame the aircraft for the crash. "This plane is just like any other plane," he said. "It can have a malfunction, but we don’t know what really happened before the investigation is over. And then we can determine if there is a technical issue, bad weather or anything else that may have led to the crash."

It was the second crash involving an Airbus jet in a month. On June 1, an Air France Airbus A330 crashed off Brazil while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, France. All 228 aboard are presumed dead. The cause remains under investigation.

Former pilot and aviation analyst John Cox said there were no similarities between the two incidents. "These are two dramatically different airplanes flown by two different airlines," Cox told CNN. "The accidents happened at two different regimes of flight. And Airbus has hundreds of millions of hours flying safely. I don’t believe that … we can draw any conclusions because the manufacturer was the same in these two very different types of accidents."

Yemen plane’s black box located
One of the black box flight recorders from the Yemeni plane which crashed in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday has been located, a French official has said. Efforts to retrieve the recorder will begin during the day, the official added, quoted by AFP news agency.

"The black box’s signal was located yesterday [Tuesday] at 1630 local time (1230 GMT) by an aerial patrol, 40 km [25 miles] from Grande Comore," a spokeswoman for Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet said. A French vessel has been sent to the site to start recovery operations, she added. 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.

The Yemeni crash occurred as the plane approached the Hahaya airport in Moroni. The plane tried to land, then U-turned before it crashed, Comoros Vice President Idi Nadhoim said. Officials did not know why the plane could not land, he said.