Young survivor of Comoros crash heading to Paris

2nd July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Bahia Bakari, 12, the only known survivor of the air crash off the Comoros islands is flying back home to Paris.

Moroni – Bahia Bakari, 12, the only known survivor of Tuesday's air crash off the Comoros islands that killed 152 people, was Wednesday flying back home to Paris in a French government aircraft.

"Little Bahia is in the plane," French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet, in whose aircraft she was returning to the French capital, told AFP.

"We are taking her to Paris to be with her father," he added. "Doctors consider there is no problem for her to be repatriated" despite a broken collar bone and burns to the knee.

Bakari was rescued 10 hours after the Yemenia airlines Airbus A310 crashed into the Indian Ocean in the early hours of Tuesday. The 152 other people on the flight to Moroni -- including her mother -- are feared dead.

She was seen earlier Wednesday by an AFP correspondent being taken to Moroni airport from El Maarouf hospital in Moroni in an ambulance.

Speaking on French radio station RTL not long after meeting Bakari, Joyandet said that, due to her state of shock, she was only able to recall in fragments the final moments of the ill-starred flight.

"She said that, at a point in time, instructions were given to passengers to strap themselves in," he said. "She said that afterwards, she felt something like electricity -- that was the term she used."

"And then, very quickly, she found herself in the water. hanging on to a piece of the aircraft with which she struggled to stay alive for more than 10 or so hours."

In Paris, the French military said a Transall transporter taking part in the search and rescue effort picked up a signal from a rescue beacon on Wednesday, but found no bodies or large debris.

"The sea is bad, the wind is blowing and there is probably a strong current," said military spokesman Captain Christophe Prazuck. "As always in such operations, pugnaciousness and patience are most important."

He added that a French frigate would be joining the search effort "in the coming hours," to be followed by an Italian warship otherwise assigned to NATO anti-piracy operations off Somalia.

Prosecutors in the Paris suburb of Bobigny, whose jurisdiction includes the French capital's main Charles de Gaulle airport, meanwhile formally opened a judicial investigation into the cause of the crash.

Three investigating magistrates have been tasked with seeing if the crash represents a case of manslaughter. Most of the passengers on the Yemenia flight boarded in Paris.

AFP / Expatica

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