Paris protest delays Yemenia flight
Dozens try to prevent passengers from boarding Paris flight to Comoros after crash.
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2009 21:50 GMT

Bahia Bakari is believed to be the sole survivor of the plane crash [AFP]

Dozens of protesters at the main airport in Paris have tried to block passengers from entering a Yemenia Airlines flight to Comoros, days after a plane crash killed 152 people en route to the Indian Ocean nation.

The protesters gathered outside a terminal at Charles de Gaulle aiport on Friday, linking arms to prevent passengers from boarding the flight to the Comoros capital, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The plane took off three hours after its scheduled departure, and only 72 passengers ended up boarding the flight, instead of the 180 people originally booked for the trip, an airport official told the AP.

Airport officials later said that Yemenia would suspend its flights from Paris to Comoros as from Friday, a day after the airline announced it was suspending flights from the French city of Marseille to the island nation.

The airline has been strongly criticised after 152 passengers and crew died when their Airbus A310 plunged into the Indian Ocean early on Tuesday morning.

Sole survivor

Thirteen-year-old Bahia Bakari is believed to be the sole survivor of the plane crash.

She arrived in Paris on Thursday to be reunited with her family.

Recent air crashes

 1 June: Air France Airbus plane travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappears in the Atlantic with 228 people on board

 20 May: Indonesian army C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes into a village on eastern Java, killing at least 97 people

 12 February: Plane crashes into a house in Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground

Bakari had clung to floating debris for more than 12 hours after being ejected from the plane.

Bakari, the eldest of four children, had been travelling with her mother from Paris to Comoros, where they had planned to spend part of the summer holidays with her relatives, when the aircraft went down.

It is still not known what caused the Yemenia airlines jet, which was carrying 153 people, to crash.

French and US military aircraft are continuing to scour the crash site, but officials said there was little hope of finding more survivors.

Local rescuers believe many of the dead remained trapped inside the plane and say the search effort should focus on finding the wreckage.

'Black box' located

One of the plane's "black box" flight recorders, which hold crucial information about the aircraft's flight and are generally orange in colour, had been located, the French government said on Wednesday.

An aerial patrol picked up the recorder's signal about 40km from Grande Comore, a spokesman for Alain Joyandet, the French co-operation minister, said.

The crash came two years after aviation officials reported equipment faults with the aircraft, an ageing Airbus 310 flying the last leg of a Yemenia airlines flight from Paris and Marseille to the Comoros.

The airport's control tower lost contact with the aircraft shortly after receiving notification that it was coming in to land.

Three infants and 11 crew were among those on board.

The plane, carrying mostly French and Comoran nationals, was flying from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, to Moroni on the main Comoros island of Grande Comore.

Most passengers had travelled to Sanaa from Paris or Marseille on another aircraft.

The crash marks the second time an Airbus has plunged into the sea this month, after an Air France Airbus A330-200 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing 228 people on board on June 1.

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