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Yemenia crash victims' relatives arrive in Comoros


Latest update : 2009-07-14

A specially chartered flight carrying about 180 relatives of the Yemenia crash victims arrived in Moroni on Monday, where the grieving passengers were greeted by Comoros President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi.

AFP - About 180 grieving relatives of those killed in last month's Yemenia Indian Ocean crash arrived in the Comoros Monday on a specially chartered flight from France to join the mourning.

Chartered by Yemenia, the flight left from Paris, with a stopover in Marseille, home to many of the crash victims. The southern French city has the highest number of Comorans outside their homeland off the east coast of Africa.

The relatives were transported free of charge. Up to 300 people received the passengers at the airport in the Comoros capital Moroni.

Comoros President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi was at the airport to receive them with members of his government. As they landed prayers from the Koran were read out.

The passengers fell into the arms of weeping relatives. Many were too moved to speak.

The Yemenia Airbus A310 plunged into the sea with 153 people on board as it came in to land at Moroni airport on June 30. A 12-year-old girl was the only survivor of the disaster.

Emergency teams from France, the United States, Comoros and Yemen have been searching for the wreckage and victims' remains.

Analysis is under way to determine whether 22 bodies that washed up on the shores of a Tanzanian island are from the victims of the downed Airbus.

Many locals hailed the initiative to fly out grieving family members from France.

"It was a good decision to bring out relatives here to be with us at a time of mourning," said Said Ahmed el-Kebir, who lost his mother and sister in the crash.

"Now it's a time of sorrow, afterwards we will express our anger," he said.

Date created : 2009-07-14