// 13 year old Muslim girl only survivor of Comoros plane crash
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Author Topic: 13 year old Muslim girl only survivor of Comoros plane crash  (Read 1628 times)
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« on: Jul 01, 2009 06:57 PM »

What a courageous little girl ma'Shallah. May Allah have mercy on her mother and give sabr to her family.


MORONI, Comoros – Despite a fractured collarbone, a teenage girl clung to the wreckage of a plane for more than 13 hours before rescuers found her floating in the Indian Ocean, authorities said Wednesday. She is the only known survivor of the crash.

The Yemenia Airbus 310 jet was carrying 153 people when it went down in howling winds early Tuesday in the sea north of the Comoros Islands.

French officials late Wednesday retracted claims that one of the plane's black boxes had been found. French Commander Bertrand Mortemard de Boisse told The Associated Press that a signal detected from the debris of Yemenia Flight IY626 was from a distress beacon and not from one of the plane's black boxes.

The flight data and cockpit voice recorders in those black boxes are crucial to help investigators determine the cause of the crash off this former French colony.

An Associated Press reporter saw 14-year-old Bahia Bakari in a Comoros hospital Wednesday as she was visited by government officials. She was conscious with bruises on her face and gauze bandages on her right elbow and right foot. Her hair was pulled back and she was covered by a blue blanket but she gamely shook the hand of Alain Joyandet, France's minister for international cooperation.

Her uncle, Joseph Yousouf, said Bahia also had a fracture on her collarbone.

"It is a true miracle. She is a courageous young girl," Joyandet said, adding that Bahia held onto a piece of the plane from 1:30 a.m Tuesday to 3:00 p.m., then signaled a passing boat, which rescued her.

"She really showed an absolutely incredible physical and moral strength," he said. "She is physically out of danger, she is evidently very traumatized."

The girl was traveling with her mother, who is feared dead. They had left Paris on Monday night to see family in the Comoros.

"She's asking for her mother," Yousouf told the AP. For fear of upsetting Bahia, Yousouf told her that her mother is in the room next door.

Joyandet said the girl would be flown back to France on Wednesday night and put in a Paris hospital upon arrival. Two ambulances were seen leaving the hospital later Wednesday, and Bahia was believed to be on board.

The passengers were flying the last leg of a journey from Paris and Marseille to Comoros, with a stop in Yemen to change planes. Most of the passengers were from Comoros, sixty-six were French citizens.

The girl's father told French radio that his oldest daughter could "barely swim" but managed to hang on. Kassim Bakari, who spoke with his oldest daughter by phone, said Bahia was ejected and found herself beside the plane.

"She couldn't feel anything, and found herself in the water. She heard people speaking around her but she couldn't see anyone in the darkness," Bakari said on France's RTL radio. "She's a very timid girl, I never thought she would escape like that."

Sgt. Said Abdilai told Europe 1 radio that Bahia was too weak to grasp the life ring rescuers threw to her, so he jumped into the sea to get her. He said rescuers gave the trembling girl warm water with sugar.

Said Mohammed, a nurse at El Mararouf hospital in the Comoros capital of Moroni, said the girl was doing well.


'True miracle'

Ms Bakari, who lives in Paris with her family, remains in hospital in Moroni being treated for injuries said to include a fractured collarbone and burns. French officials said late on Wednesday that she was 12 years old, contradicting earlier reports she was 14.

Speaking from Paris, her father Kassim Bakari said she was thrown from the plane as it hit the water. He said she clearly recalled the chaos of her time in the water.


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Ties that bind: Comoros and France 
"She said, 'Papa, we saw the plane going down in the water. I was in the dark, I couldn't see a thing.

"'[And] on top of that daddy, I can't swim well and I held on to something, but don't really know what'.

"She's a very timid girl, I never thought she would escape like that," he said, describing her as "fragile" and barely able to swim.

Mr Bakari recalled how he said goodbye to his wife and daughter at the airport as they headed to the Comoros.

"I kissed them both, then my wife turned around, she looked at me and she waved, and my daughter she didn't do anything, and that was the last time I saw my wife alive, because my daughter... I will see her again I hope , but for my wife it was the last time."

French officials in Moroni praised the girl's courage. International Co-operation Minister Alain Joyandet described her rescue as a "true miracle".

"She is a courageous young girl. She really showed an absolutely incredible physical and moral strength."

An uncle, Ali Abdou, who visited the girl in hospital in Moroni, told the BBC she did not yet know that her mother had died.

She was scheduled to be transferred back to Paris for treatment later on Wednesday, he added.

"She is conscious, speaking well, [she] is ok. She was joking, she was chatting, we laughed together.

"It's a miracle. It was God's will."

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