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Beacons of black boxes detected

A SUBMARINE scouring the Indian Ocean yesterday picked up the signal beacons of the two black boxes of a Yemenia Airways flight that crashed off the Comoros Islands, the French aviation agency said.

A 12-year-old girl, Bahia Bakari, was the only survivor of Tuesday's early morning crash that killed 152 people on the flight from Paris to Moroni, the capital of the Comoros islands.

The one-line statement yesterday from the French investigation agency BEA gave no indication of when the flight data and cockpit voice recorders of the Airbus A310 jet might be recovered.

Yemenia Flight 626 crashed while landing amid heavy winds off Comoros, an archipelago of three main islands 2,900 kilometers south of Yemen, between Africa's southeastern coast and the island of Madagascar.

The BEA and Airbus have sent teams of experts to Comoros to investigate the crash, and French and US ships are running a search mission off the northern end of the main island, looking for bodies and debris.

A Yemeni aviation committee said on Saturday that divers have recovered pieces of the fuselage of the Airbus 310 and that Yemeni, French and Comoran officials listened to communications between the control tower and the flight before it crashed.

Since many on board were French Comorans, anger has run high in France since the crash came amid allegations that Yemenia aircraft are a safety hazard. Protesters picketed the airport, prompting Yemenia to suspend flights from Marseille to Moroni.


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