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Category: <span>Comoros</span>

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A Disgraceful Attitude

Here are a couple of facts:

Yemenia Flight 626 was an International Airbus A310-324 from Sana’a, Yemen, to Moroni, Comoros, that crashed on 30 June 2009 killing 152.

French authorities charged Yemenia Airways with manslaughter over the Yemenia Airways crash.

A judicial source said that Yemenia’s Airbus A310 “should not have been allowed to fly”.

152 people died in the crash.

In spite of this, Yemenia announced they are “ready to challenge any allegation regarding the pilot’s competence, or the plane’s maintenance.”

They kept on flying a plane which was judged unsafe. Now Yemenia Airways is denying responsibility for the crash, which in all likelihood was a consequence of flying an unsafe plane.

Any way you look at it, no matter how vehemently they dismiss it, no matter how many times they make an “official” statement, in refusing responsibility for a plane crash on their watch —a plane crash which killed 152 people who trusted the airline to deliver them safely and which is clearly their responsibility—Yemenia Airways has displayed a disgraceful attitude.

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Will Yemenia Airways Be Held Accountable at Last?

In 2007 there was this Airbus A310 that failed to pass inspection in France and was therefore banned from French Airspace. The plane was still in use though. Yemenia Airlines quit flying the plane over French Airspace, limiting its routes to non-euro airspace like the hop from Sanaa to the Comoros.

Listen, I’ve heard some bad things about some planes but the descriptions I saw of this plane are so vivid I remember them, even though its been nearly five years. Frankly, the description sounded straight out of Romancing the Stone like the bus that takes Kathleen Turner (romance novelist Joan Wilder) to Cartagena, Colombia—crowded to the gills, livestock inside, seats rolling around, standing room only, everything that was portrayed in the movie, except (one hopes) people hanging off the outside of the plane. This rickety plane, which failed to meet safety standards continued to be in use until it crashed one stormy night in 2009.

Now, five years later, France is charging Yemenia Airlines with manslaughter.

I wonder at the timing. Apparently Yemenia Airlines is no longer on the EU banned list.

I wonder if they waited for Yemenia Airlines to become more solvent before they charged them.

I wonder if International Lease Finance Corporation is going to be held accountable. They leased the plane to Yemenia; and, like a father who hands his fifteen year old the keys to his car, they could have taken away the keys, or withheld them till the plane was brought up to code.

I wonder if the delay was five years worth of research, and maybe evidence found.

I wonder if another accident or enlightening incident happened that pointed the finger at Yemenia.

I wonder if it was pressure from the families of the 153 passengers and crew (and little Bahia Bakari the twelve year old miracle survivor) aboard that international flight from Sana’a, Yemen to Moroni, Comoros that crashed on 30 June 2009.

Pressure from the families brings change. I have a lot of confidence in family groups. Plane crash victims are united by a common cause, a cause which is ethical and pragmatic and yet impossible, because they are seeking justice when there can really be none. Because all these people want, if they could have their way, would be to have their loved ones back. They have the power of right on their side; and to make a galvanizing cause even more magnetic, they are fighting for the safety of every future airline passenger. I wish my friend Hans Ephraimson-Abt, who died last October, could be here to witness the charges being brought. He lost a daughter when her plane was shot down in 1983, and ever after made it his business to advocate for families. I think of him now because up until October, whenever I’d post an editorial concerning crashes, or family groups, he would always write back with encouragement, or some pithy bit of advice.

Maybe I should be objective. After all, helping families in crashes is my business. But when you’re on the front lines of aviation safety trying to get better treatment for victims and the families of victims, it doesn’t take long to feel very personal. There are a lot of people who saw those headlines that France is charging the carrier with manslaughter who think that after four and a half years, it is about time. I just hope that somehow the 152 victims—and Hans—could know that the responsible parties may yet be held accountable.

Inter-Island Flight Ditches In Indian Ocean After Moroni Take-off

Inter Iles

What: Inter-Iles Air Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia en route from Moroni, Comoros to Anjouan
Where: Indian Ocean
When: Nov 27, 2012
Who: 29 aboard-25 passengers, 4 crew
Why: According to passengers accounts, the plane took off and was leaking. Another reports that an engine failed. The pilot intended to return to the airport but instead managed to ditch safely in the Ocean within five minutes of take-off. Both pilot and copilot had over 5000 hours of flight experience.

The pilot suffered head trauma but no one else was reported as injured.

The leaking plane had passed DGAC inspection one week before the accident.

The rescue/recovery of the crew and passengers was performed by local fishermen.

See Video

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Yemenia Flight 626, Comoros, Updated

The BEA sent this letter to the president of the Inquiry committee, the Ministries of Communications of Moroni, New technology, Transportation and tourism (Loosely translated. For the original, click the link below the letter):

Re: Yemenia Flight 626
Monsieur President,

I have read the first progress report on flight IY626 that crashed June 29, 2009 during the landing procedure at the airport in Moroni. This report is dated June 25, 2011 but has not, to my knowledge been released to date.

This report contains the facts that for the most part, were already available three months after the accident.

However, the BEA addressed you in May 2010 regarding the publication of a progress report in the context of the first anniversary of the accident. This note has been taken into consideration after a year.

No action improving safety of flights has been recommended by your Commission which is the Commission’s responsibility.

I recall that France, through the intermediary of BEA, has been deeply involved in this investigation. The underwater research was funded by France for $ 3 M.

The fact that the commission has not yet begun to use the information collected from its recorders, two years after reading them. This is inacceptible.

I urge you that the investigation that you lead henceforth be conducted with diligence and in accordance with international provisions.

I would be grateful for the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry to please ensure that is has established a plan to lead to the publication of a final report within the best times.

In the meantime, I urge you to accept the assurances of my highest consideration.

Director of the BEA
Jean-Paul Troadec


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