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Yemenia suspends flights to and from Marseille

Video by Cyril VANIER , Karim HAKIKI

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-07-03

After days of protests at the Marseille airport by angry Comorans following Tuesday’s plane crash off the Comoros islands, Yemenia Airways announced it was suspending flights to and from the Mediterranean port city.

Emergency numbers:

Paris airport number for families of passengers: +
Yemenia Airways emergency number: +967.1.250.833



Yemenia airlines announced it was suspending all flights to and from the French Mediterranean port city of Marseille on Thursday, after the city’s Comoran community staged a second day of protests following the crash of one of its planes 20 kilometres off the coast of the Comoros Tuesday.

Around 200 protesters at Marseille airport prevented passengers to check in or board the Yemenia flight that was to take off for Moroni on Thursday afternoon.

At the airport, company official Mohamed Zoubeidi told reporters that the airline would suspend all its flights from Marseille to Sanaa "for an undetermined period.”

According to FRANCE 24 correspondent Cyril Vannier in the Comoros, despite initial reports, not a single body has been recovered from the sea.

Bahia Bakari, the only known survivor among the 153 people on the Yemenia Airbus A310 jet, was brought home on a French government plane on Wednesday, the same day memorial services for the victims began.

President Sarkozy at the Paris mosque

French President Nicolas Sarkozy attended an inter-religious ceremony at a Paris mosque for victims of the doomed Yemenia aircraft, which reports say was forbidden to fly in France because of security concerns.

“We cannot say that a plane cannot fly to Europe, but can fly to Africa,” said one attendee of the Paris memorial service. “It is unbelievable. So we are counting on the French president to put an end to such actions, to forbid such planes.”

President Sarkozy said he did not oppose stricter, global security regulations for airplane travel.

Memorial events held for the victims of the Yemenia flight were scheduled to continue in Marseille on Friday, according to news agency AFP. France’s second largest city is home to roughly 70,000 Comorans, 61 of which were reported to be on board the ill-fated jet.

All mosques in France were to observe a day of prayer and mourning for the victims and families of the plane crash.

Search efforts intensified

Three days after Airbus 310 disappeared from radar screens as it approached Moroni, searchers continue to look for bodies and debris from the aircraft and investigations continue into the cause of the crash.

“A member of the French investigations bureau should be arriving in the Comoros today with a very specific piece of equipment that uses the same frequencies as the black box,” reported Cyril Vannier.

“As soon as he gets here he’ll put that on the French warship that is patrolling the region, and we will see if it yields any results.”

On Friday the Italian navy dispatched another ship to the region to boost search efforts, FRANCE 24’s correspondent said. “A total of five boats now patrol the area 20 kilometres off the coast.”

Date created : 2009-07-03