1 Jul 2009

Yemeni plane's black box located

10:24 pm on 1 July 2009

One of the black box flight recorders from the Yemeni plane which crashed in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday has been located, according to a French official.

Efforts to retrieve the recorder will begin during the day, the official added, quoted by AFP news agency.

The plane came down in bad weather with 153 people on board. Only one survivor, a 14-year-old girl, has been found.

The girl, identified as Bakari Bahia, suffered cuts to her face and a fractured collar-bone and is in a stable condition.

The girl is reported to have told her father she was ejected from the plane and found herself beside it after it crashed.

She says she could hear people talking around her but was unable to see anyone in the darkness. She was eventually plucked out of the water by rescuers. Search teams are still scouring the area.

There were 66 French nationals on board the Airbus, which was flying from the Yemeni capital Sanaa to the Comoros islands. Most of the plane's passengers had flown on a different Yemenia aircraft from Paris or Marseille before boarding flight IY626 in Sanaa.

A spokesperson for French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet said the black box signal was picked up 40km from the main island, Grande Comore, on Tuesday. A French vessel has been sent to the site to start recovery operations.

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.