Air crash girl back at home

MORONI - The sole survivor of a Yemeni jet that plunged into deep water while attempting to land on the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros has been reunited with her father in France.

MORONI - The sole survivor of a Yemeni jet that plunged into deep water while attempting to land on the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros has been reunited with her father in France.

Bahia Bakari, 12, who can barely swim, clung on to floating debris for more than 12 hours before search teams spotted her in rough seas.

"I am torn between relief and sadness. I am happy to see my daughter but her mother did not come back," Bahia's father, Kassim Bakari, told reporters at Roissy Airport in Paris yesterday.

Rescuers have failed to find any of the remaining 152 passengers and crew since the Yemenia Airbus A310 crashed in rough weather in the early hours of Tuesday.

American and French military aircraft continued to scour the crash site yesterday to locate the wreckage, thought to be in waters up to 500m deep.

Local doctors, who marvelled at Bahia's escape with little more than cuts, bruises and a fractured collar bone, said she was discharged on her father's request.

"It was on the demand of her father in France. The girl was regaining her spirit and was in a satisfactory physical state," said Dr Jean Youssef, lead doctor at the disaster unit on Grand Comore.

Youssef said Moroni's El Marouf hospital lacked the facilities needed to properly scan the teenager's body for any internal damage.

Bahia returned to France on a French government jet with French Cooperation Secretary Alain Joyandet.

Reporters said Bahia, who is still unaware that her mother died in the crash, was groggy and did not say much at the airport.

Rescuers suspect many of the dead remained trapped inside the doomed plane and say the search effort should focus on finding the wreck.

Officials say the cause of the plane crash is still unknown. - Reuters

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