Search teams have spotted the wreckage of a Yemeni jet that crashed in the Indian Ocean off the island nation of Comoros.
The plane, carrying more than 150 people, was en route to Moroni, the capital of Comoros, from Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. A reconnaissance plane spotted traces of the jet in waters off the town of Mitsamiouli, Comoros Vice President Idi Nadhoim said Tuesday. “There were no sign of survivors,” he said. “There are a few bodies floating and there is a lot of debris floating around.” The crash took place as the plane approached the Hahaya airport in Moroni. The plane tried but failed to land and then performed a U-turn before it crashed, Nadhoim said. Officials did not know why the plane could not land, he said. Recent plane crashes » There were 142 passengers and 11 crew members aboard, Yemenia Air officials said. Nadhoim offered another figure, saying there were 147 passengers. Flight 626 left Sanaa at 9:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) for what was expected to be a four-and-a-half-hour flight. The airline has three regular flights a week to Moroni, off the east coast of Africa, about 2,900 km (1,800 miles) south of Yemen. The crash occurred about 1:30 a.m., Nadhoim said. Most of the passengers aboard the Airbus A310 were Comorans, an official at Sanaa’s international airport told CNN. An official at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris said there were also 66 French passengers aboard.
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There was no indication of foul play behind the crash, the official in Yemen said. Yemenia Air had used the jet since 1999, on about 17,300 flights, Airbus officials said. The company said it would assist in investigating the crash. “The concerns and sympathy of the Airbus employees go to the families, friends and loved ones affected by the accident,” the company said in a statement. The crash was the second involving an Airbus jet in a month. On June 1, an Air France Airbus A330 crashed off Brazil while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, France. All 228 aboard are presumed dead. The cause remains under investigation.