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By Ahmed Ali AmirMORONI (Reuters) - An Airbus A310-300 from Yemen with 153 people on board, including 66 French nationals, crashed into the sea as it approached the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros in bad weather early on Tuesday, officials said.Some bodies were recovered from the wreck of the Yemenia plane, said Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Qader, undersecretary of Yemen's aviation authority.

The airline said one survivor had been rescued from the sea.The Paris airports authority said 66 French nationals were aboard the plane, which was flying the final leg of a flight taking passengers from Paris and Marseille to Comoros via Yemen.

A large number of Comoros nationals were also on board.Two French military planes and a French ship left the Indian Ocean islands of Mayotte and Reunion to search for the plane."The planes have seen debris at the supposed point of impact," Ibrahim Kassim, an official at the regional air security body ASECNA, told Reuters.It is the second Airbus to plunge into the sea this month, following an Air France Airbus A330-200 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing 228 people on board on June 1.

A preliminary report on that crash is due on Thursday.The Paris-Marseille-Yemen leg of the Yemenia flight was flown by an Airbus A330.

In Sanaa, those passengers who were flying on to the Comoros changed onto a second Yemenia plane, the A310 that crashed.FAULTS DETECTEDFrench Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said faults had been detected during inspections in France in 2007 on the Yemenia A310, and that it had not flown to France since."The A310 in question was inspected in 2007 by the DGAC (French transport authorities) and they noticed a certain number of faults," he told the I-tele television channel."The company was not on the black list but was subject to stricter checks on our part, and was due to be interviewed shortly by the European Union's safety committee."French television showed pictures of friends and relatives of the passengers weeping at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport, many of them railing at the airline.Airbus said it was dispatching a team of investigators to the Comoros.

It said the aircraft was built in 1990 and had been used by Yemenia since 1999.

Its engines were built by Pratt and Whitney, a unit of United Technologies."We still do not have information about the reason behind the crash, or survivors," Mohammad al-Sumairi, deputy general manager for Yemenia operations, told Reuters.A Yemenia official said there were 142 passengers including three infants, and 11 crew.

The plane was flying to Moroni, capital of Grande Comore, the main island of the archipelago.� Continued...View article on single page
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