The aircraft involved in the accident was an Airbus A310-324 twin-engine jet, registration number 7O-ADJ, manufactured in 1990. At the time of the accident it had been in use for 19 years and 3 months†
The aircraft first entered service with Air Liberté on May 30, 1990. After being leased to other airlines in September 1999, it was leased, re-registered and operated with them until the accident.
Dominique Bussereau, the French Minister of Transport, announced that the plane had been inspected in 2007 by the French Directorate General of Civil Aviation and found a number of errors† however, the aircraft has not returned to France since then and has therefore never been inspected by the same authority again.
Most passengers came from Paris and Marseillewhere she boarded Yemenia Flight 749, operated by an Airbus A330-200. The flight made a stopover at Marseille airport, where additional passengers and crew members boarded. Upon arrival at Sana’a International Airport in Yemen, Yemen, passengers boarded the Airbus A310 for the ill-fated Flight 626, which was scheduled to arrive at Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport in Moroni, Comoros for 12:00 noon. 2:30 local time on June 30.
There were 142 passengers and 11 crew on board. Most passengers are Comorian or French citizens. Citizens of Canada, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Morocco, Israeli Arabs, the Philippines and Yemen were also on board. Many of them went home on vacation; the week of the accident marks the beginning of summer holidays for students of French schools†
The flight crew members were Yemeni: Captain Khalid Haeb (44), First Officer Ali Atif (50) and Flight Engineer Ali Salem. The cabin crew included three Yemeni, two Filipinos, two Moroccans, one Ethiopian and one Indonesian.
Captain Hajeb has worked for Yemen since 1989 and became captain of the A310 in 2005. He flew 7,936 hours, of which 5,314 hours on an Airbus A310. Previously, Hajeb flew 25 times to Moroni. First Officer Atif has been with the airline since 1980 and obtained the license to fly an Airbus A310 in 2004. Atif had flown 3,641 hours, of which 3,076 were on an Airbus A310, and had previously flown to Moroni 13 times.
The disaster happened overnight, off the north coast of Grande Comore in the Comoros, in the Indian Ocean, minutes from the airport. The aircraft was about to land on runway 2. However, the aircraft went beyond the point where the approach required a turn and then turned left to the north, deviating from course. The plane came to a stop and crashed into the sea†
An unknown UN official at the airport said the control tower had received a report before losing contact that the plane was about to land. An unexpectedly strong cold front moved through the Comoros, caused by a wind blowing at 64 km/h conditions that promote mild to moderate turbulence†
14 year old heroine
Only a 14-year-old girl, Bahia Bakari, survived the accident, she was rescued after a piece of an airplane wreckage got stuck between the bodies and wreckage. She was fished by local fishermen. Bakari traveled with her mother, who did not survive. She was diagnosed with hypothermia, a broken collarbone and bruising on her face, elbow and foot.
Bahia returned to Paris a few days after the accident to her father, he described her as a “delicate girl” who could barely swim†
France 2 TV station had a short interview with Bahia Bakari in the return flight. She seemed bewildered and usually gave one-word answers. When asked how she was doing, one teenage girl replied indistinctly:
When asked if she was concerned, she said:
Her father, Kassim, met her when she arrived in France and said he felt relieved and happy to see his daughter, despite mourning his wife who died in the crash.
“It was a very strong experience,” he said of meeting his daughter. He said he asked her, ‘How are you? Was the return trip all right?’ We were kidding, the two of us.
The causes of the disaster
The final report on the incident found that incorrect flight crew commands led to an aerodynamic stall. The report also noted that the crew did not respond to the aircraft’s warnings.
Investigators concluded that the cause of the accident was “improper flight control actions by the crew, which caused the aircraft to come to a stop and make it impossible to get out.”
The taxi-to-landing procedure was performed without stabilization and various alarms such as GPWS, aircraft configuration alarm and stall were activated. The crew was concerned with flight path management and runway location and “probably lacked the mental resources in this stressful situation to respond appropriately to various alarms,” the investigation report said.
Weather conditions at the airport contributed to the accident, including wind gusts of approximately 15 m/s. In addition, the crew was insufficiently trained in the circle landing procedure.
Source: Guardian† aviation-safety.net