Child Survives Deadly Plane Crash into Indian Ocean - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Child Survives Deadly Plane Crash into Indian Ocean

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A Yemenia jet with 153 people on board crashed into the Indian Ocean on Tuesday as it tried to land during strong winds on the island nation of Comoros. Officials said one child was plucked alive from the sea.

There was no word on other survivors. At least three bodies were recovered, authorities said.

The crash comes two years after aviation officials reported faults with the aircraft, an Airbus 310 flying the last leg of a journey from Paris and Marseille to Comoros, with a stop in Yemen to change planes. Most of the passengers were from Comoros, a former French colony. Sixty-six on board were French nationals.

A child was rescued from the water after the crash, according to Rachida Abdullah, a police immigration officer who works at the operations center in the Comoros, and Yemeni civil aviation deputy chief Mohammed Abdul Qader.

Qader said he was told the child was 5 years old. Further details on the rescue and the child's condition were not immediately available.

Three bodies from the flight were retrieved along with debris from the plane, Abdullah said.

Qader said it was too early to speculate on the cause and the flight data recorder had not been found, but the wind was 40 miles per hour (61 kph) as the plane was landing in the middle of the night.

"The weather was very bad ... the wind was very strong," he said, adding the windy conditions were hampering rescue efforts.

The Yemenia plane was the second Airbus to crash into the sea in as many months. An Air France Airbus A330-200 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean May 31, killing all 228 people on board, as it flew from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

A crisis center once again was set up at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Many passengers were from the French city of Marseille, which has a large Comoros community.

"There is considerable dismay," said Stephane Salord, the consul general of the Comoros in the Provence-Alps-Cote d'Azur region of France. "These are families that, each year on the eve of summer, leave Marseille and the region to rejoin their families in the Comoros and spend their holidays."

In France, this week is the start of annual summer school vacations.

The Comoros is an archipelago of three main islands situated about 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) south of Yemen, between Africa's southeastern coast and the island of Madagascar. It is a former French colony of 700,000 people.

Gen. Bruno de Bourdoncle de Saint-Salvy, the senior commander for French forces in the southern Indian Ocean, said the Airbus 310 crashed in deep waters about 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) north of the Comoran coast and 21 miles (34 kilometers) from the Moroni airport.

French aviation inspectors found a "number of faults" during a 2007 inspection of the plane that went down, French Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said on i-Tele television Tuesday.

In Brussels, EU Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani said the airline had previously met EU safety checks and was not on the bloc's blacklist. But he said a full investigation was now being started amid questions why passengers were put on another jet in the Yemeni capital of San'a.

An Airbus statement said the plane that crashed went into service 19 years ago, in 1990, and had accumulated 51,900 flight hours. It has been operated by Yemenia (Yemen Airways) since 1999. Airbus said it was sending a team of specialists to the Comoros.

The A310-300 is a twin-engine widebody jet that can seat up to 220 passengers. There are 214 A310s in service worldwide with 41 operators.

Christophe Prazuck, French military spokesman, said a patrol boat and reconnaissance ship were being sent to the crash site as well a military transport plane. The French were sending divers as well as medical personnel, he said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy "expressed his deep emotion" about the crash and asked the French military to help in the rescue operation, particularly from the French islands of Mayotte and Reunion.

Yemenia airline officials say the 11-member crew was made up of six Yemenis, including the pilot, two Moroccans, one Indonesian, one Ethiopian and 1 Filipino. The officials asked that their named not be used because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

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Al-Haj contributed to this report from San'a, Yemen. Associated Press writers Deborah Seward and Angela Charlton in Paris, Sarah El Deeb in Cairo and Yoann Guilloux in Saint-Denis de la Reunion, Reunion Island, contributed to this report.

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