Sunday, March 3, 2013

● COMOROS: Yemeni Government claims new evidence shows 2009 crash of Yemenia IY626 near Moroni may not have been an accident.

Yemenia AirwaysYemen's government has motioned to reopen investigations into the 2009 crash of Yemenia Airways flight IY626 in the Comores, claiming that new "information" has come to light, showing the crash may not have been an accident. Results are said to be due this month (March 2013).

Yemenia A310 7O-ADJ
Yemenia A310 7O-ADJ (AeroIcarus)
The Airbus A310 (MSN 535 | 7O-ADJ) operating as flight IY-626 from Sana'a, Yemen to Moroni, Comoros with 142 passengers and 11 crew on board, disappeared from radar while on approach to Moroni's Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport, roughly 6 minutes prior to its estimated arrival time of 01h50L on 29 June 2009.

All but one of the 153 passengers and crew on board died.

Comorian officials reported that the aircraft was on the outbound leg of its instrument approach and was in the process of turning back towards Moroni's runway 06 minutes prior to estimated arrival, when it crashed into the Indian Ocean  just near the town of Mitsamiouli. It was recorded at the time that "an unseasonably strong cold front had moved through the Comoros Islands, bringing winds gusting to 64 km/h and conditions favourable for light to moderate turbulence."

Subsequent investigations by the French Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA), the Agence Nationale de l'Aviation Civile et de la Météorologie of the Comoros and the Yemeni Aviation Authority did not all point to one decisive factor  in the crash, with the Yemenis and Comorians disputing early findings pointing to pilot error.

Other suspicions pointed to the aircraft's poor condition with Dominique Bussereau, then French Minister of Transport, reporting that the plane had been inspected in 2007 by the French Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile and had been found to have had a number of faults. Yemen vehemently disputed these allegations saying the plane had undergone a thorough inspection and conformed to international standards.

A near diplomatic stand-off between Yemen and France then ensued, when in November 2009, Yemenia announced that they were looking for an independent third party to investigate the accident, due primarily to insurance prerequisites, but also because the crash had been "affecting the reputation of Yemen".

Yemenia also accused the French of "harassment" and of attacking the Yemeni national carrier "day and night".

In early February 2013, Sana'a motioned to reopen the inquest with results due by early March.
The decision came after the council of ministers this week discussed a report by the transport minister Waed Bathib which revealed new information about the crash including that it might not be an accident, the sources said.

The council formed a panel comprising of the ministers of transport, foreign affairs legal affairs as well as chairman of the board of directors of Yemenia Airways and head of the Yemeni civil aviation and metrology (sic) authority to reinvestigate the crash.
The panel is supposed to seek assistance from specialized firms and lawyers to reinvestigate and report the outcomes in a month, they added.
Source [Yemen Post]

No one conclusive report has ever been released with speculation ranging from"a technical problem" being the cause of the crash, to others suggesting a missile unintentionally fired by one of the French warships based in the area as the cause.