Teen Air Crash Survivor Clung to Debris inOcean for 12 Hours
The 14-year-old girl believed to be the only survivor of a Yemenia jetliner crash off Comoros was thrown from the plane amid darkness, she tells her father.
By Jeffrey Fleishman and Devorah LauterJuly 2, 2009
The 14-year-old girl believed to be the lone survivor of a jetliner crashin the Indian Ocean was thrown from the plane and into the waves, where she heard voices but saw no one in the darkness, her fathertold a French radio station Wednesday."She is a very, very shy girl. I never thought she would survive likethat," Kassim Bakari said of his daughter, Bahia, in an interview withFrench RTL radio from his suburban Paris home. "I can't say that it'sa miracle.
I can say that it is
"When I had her on the phone, I asked her what happened and shesaid, 'Daddy, I don't know what happened, but the plane fell into the water and I found myself in the water . . . surrounded by darkness. Icould not see anyone,' " Bakari said.Bahia, who clung to floating debris for about 12 hours in the cold sea, was in stable condition at the El Maarouf Hospital in Moroni, thecapital of Comoros. The Yemenia airlines Airbus A310 wasapproaching the island nation Tuesday with 153 people aboard whenit went down.Rescue workers and French and U.S. search planes scoured the areanorth of Comoros on Wednesday for more survivors as debris wasscattered for miles across the ocean.The French government announced early Wednesday that searchteams had picked up a signal coming from one of the plane's "black box" recorders. But it later reversed that assertion, saying theelectronic impulses detected were from the plane's distress signals.The two black boxes -- the cockpit recorder and the flight datarecorder -- are crucial to determining what caused a crash.