Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yemenia crash

Reuters - Tuesday, June 30 By Ahmed Ali Amir

MORONI - An Airbus A310-300 from Yemen with 153 people on board crashed into choppy seas as it tried to land in bad weather on the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros Tuesday, officials said.

Two French military planes and a French ship left the Indian Ocean islands of Mayotte and Reunion to search for the Yemenia aircraft that was carrying nationals from France and Comoros.

An official from the Yemeni state carrier said the plane had 142 passengers, including three infants, and 11 crew on board. It was flying from Sanaa to Moroni, the capital of the main island of the Comoros archipelago.

"We still do not have information about the reason behind the crash or survivors," Mohammad al-Sumairi, deputy general manager for Yemenia operations told Reuters.

"The weather conditions were rough; strong wind and high seas. The wind speed recorded on land at the airport was 61 km an hour. There could be other factors," he said.

It is the second Airbus to plunge into the sea this month. An Air France Airbus A330-200 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing 228 people on board on June 1.

In 1996, a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 also crashed into the sea off the Comoros islands in 1996, killing 125 of 175 passengers and crew.

"Two French military aircraft have left from the islands of Mayotte and Reunion to search the identified zone, and a French vessel has left Mayotte," said Hadji Madi Ali, director General of Moroni International Airport.


"The plane has crashed and we still don't know exactly where. We think it's in the area of Mitsamiouli," Comoros Vice-President Idi Nadhoim told Reuters from the airport.

Ibrahim Kassim, a representative from regional air security body ASECNA, said the plane had probably come down 5 to 10 km from the coast, and civilian and military boats had set off to search the rough waters.

"We think the crash is somewhere along its landing approach," Kassim told Reuters. "The weather is really not very favourable. The sea is very rough."

ASECNA -- the Agency for Aviation Security and Navigation in Africa and Madagascar -- covers Francophone Africa.

The town of Mitsamiouli is on the main island Grande Comore.

Interior Minister Hamid Bourhane told Reuters the army had sent small speedboats to an area between the village of Ntsaoueni and the airport.

"At the moment we don't have any information about whether there are any survivors," he told Reuters.

A medical worker in Mitsamiouli said he had been called in.

"They have just called me to come to the hospital. They said a plane had crashed," he told Reuters.

A United Nations official at the airport, who declined to be named, said the control tower had received notification the plane was coming into land, and then lost contact with it.

Yemenia is 51 percent owned by the Yemeni government and 49 percent owned by the Saudi Arabian government. Its fleet includes two Airbus 330-200s, four Airbus 310-300s and four Boeing 737-800s, according to the company Web site.

The Comoros covers three small volcanic islands, Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli, in the Mozambique channel, 300 km northwest of Madagascar and a similar distance east of the African mainland.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Air France Crash

By STAN LEHMAN,Associated Press Writer AP -

Monday, June 22 SAO PAULO - Medical examiners have identified the first 11 of 50 bodies recovered from the Air France flight that plunged into the Atlantic three weeks ago, officials said Sunday.

Five bodies were identified as Brazilian men, five as Brazilian women and one as a "foreigner of the male sex," the Public Safety Department of the northeastern state of Pernambuco said in a statement. The department did not reveal the nationality of the non-Brazilian victim.

Dental records, fingerprints and DNA samples were used to identify the bodies, the statement said. Investigators are reviewing all remains, debris and baggage at a base set up in Recife, capital of Pernambuco.

The families of the Brazilian victims and the embassy in Brazil representing the foreigner's home country have been notified, but the identities will not be publicized in keeping with the families' wishes, the statement said.

Air France Flight 447 fell into the ocean off the northeast coast of Brazil on the night of May 31, killing all 228 people aboard.

Thus far, 50 bodies have been retrieved from the ocean.

Searchers from Brazil, France, the United States and other countries are methodically scanning the surface and depths of the Atlantic for signs of the Airbus A330, which crashed after running into thunderstorms en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

Still missing are the plane's flight data and voice recorders, thought to be deep under water. French-chartered ships are trolling a search area with a radius of 50 miles (80 kilometers), pulling U.S. Navy underwater listening devices attached to 19,700 feet (6,000 meters) of cable. The black boxes send out an electronic tapping sound that can be heard up to 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) away.

Brazilian and American officials said that as of Sunday evening no signals from the black boxes had been picked up.

Without the black boxes to help explain what went wrong, the investigation has focused on a flurry of automated messages sent by the plane minutes before it lost contact. One of the messages suggests external speed sensors had iced over, destabilizing the plane's control systems.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Male International Airport

SQ451 Boeing 777-200

Malaysia Airline

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Male airport lounge

They serve sandwiches, cakes and biscuits

Monday, June 15, 2009

SQ 451 to Singapore

Stir fried noodles

Chicken and vegetables

The menu for the return flight


Waldorf salad
apple and celery salad

Main course

Cayenne pepper flavoured stewed chicken, seasonal vegetables and potatoes


Chinese stir fried egg noodles with beef and vegetables


Chocolate mousse

Saturday, June 13, 2009

SQ 452 to Male

Roast chicken

Pan fried fish

Here's the menu for dinner served on 11 June 09 in the Economy class

Smoked Salmon with Asian slaw and creamy sesame dressing

Main courses

Pan fried fish with lemon dill sauce, buttered vegetables and potatoes
Oriental roast chicken with Chinese greens and fragrant rice

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Debris likely from Air France plane found in Atlantic

AFP - Wednesday, June 3 RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - - Search aircraft found debris on Tuesday believed to be from an Air France flight that disappeared over the Atlantic with 228 people on board, but officials say what brought down the plane remains a mystery.

Brazilian air force aircraft located a seat from a plane, an orange buoy and jet fuel slicks floating 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) off Brazil's northeast coast -- in a remote stretch of the Atlantic Ocean where the flight from Rio de Janeiro bound for Paris disappeared early on Monday.

But an air force spokesman, Colonel Jorge Amaral, cautioned that no item with a serial number or other identification had yet been found that could confirm the debris was from missing Air France flight AF 447.

"The search is continuing because it's very little material in relation to the size" of the Air France Airbus A330, he said.

He added that there was no chance of survivors being found among the debris.

Brazilian navy vessels and a French ship carrying two mini-submarines were on their way to the zone. The submarines are capable of operating at depths of 6,000 meters (19,700 feet), which is also the limit aircraft black boxes can survive.

The zone's average depth is estimated between 4,000 and 5,000 meters (13,100 and 16,400 feet) but has crevasses up to 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) deep, according to Brazilian and French oceanographic experts.

Three cargo ships nearby, two Dutch-flagged and one French, have been asked to go where the debris was found and should arrive "in the next few hours," a Brazilian navy official, Lieutenant Henrique Afonso Lima, said.

If it is confirmed that all aboard flight AF 447 perished, it would be the deadliest civilian aviation accident since 2001 and the worst in Air France's 70-year history.

The possible discovery of what was left of the airliner held the promise that the enigma of what brought the plane down might be solved if its black boxes could be recovered from the bottom of the ocean.

The plane vanished Monday four hours into its 11-hour flight, as it was beyond the reach of radar midway over the Atlantic between South America and Africa, in an area known for its tropical storms .

The pilots issued no mayday. But automatic data signals -- received from the zone where the debris was discovered -- told of multiple electric and pressurization failures.

Air France suggested the four-year-old plane could have been struck by lightning -- a fairly common hazard that by itself should not knock out a modern airliner, but coupled with other problems such as violent turbulence it could be dangerous.

Other theories advanced by experts include pilot error or even the remote possibility of terrorism.

"No hypothesis is being favored at the moment," French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday.

"Our only certainty is that there was no distress call sent by the plane, but regular automatic alerts sent over three minutes indicated the failure of all systems," he said.

Air France chief executive Pierre-Henry Gourgeon said Monday the succession of data messages was a "totally unprecedented situation" and that it was "probable" the plane crashed into the ocean shortly afterwards.

More than half of those traveling in the full plane were either French or Brazilian. The others came from 30 countries, mostly in Europe.

The 216 passengers included 126 men, 82 women, seven children and a baby. The crew comprised 11 French nationals and one Brazilian.

Nineteen passengers were employees and partners of a French electrical firm who had won a holiday for hitting sales targets.

Another three were Irishwomen in their 20s who trained together as doctors, including a former member of the famed Riverdance dance troupe.

A 25-year-old descendant of Brazil's long-defunct royal family was also on the passenger manifest.

The French captain, whose name has yet to be released, was 58 and an Air France pilot since 1988 with a great deal of experience, the airline said.

Ten Brazilian aircraft have been deployed to continue searches of the Atlantic, while other aircraft from France, Spain and the United States have also been dispatched to help.

France's defense ministry has asked the United States to focus its spy satellites on the zone.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and others have held out very little hope of survivors but vowed to keep up the search for as long as necessary.

French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, whose brief includes the transport portfolio, said that, if they so wished, relatives of the missing could be flown to the search zone to watch.

Air France and French consular officials were providing counseling and other assistance to the distraught relatives, who were being kept in hotels in Brazil and France closed to journalists.

Prayer services were to be held in Catholic and Muslim temples in Paris on Wednesday for the passengers on the doomed plane. Sarkozy was to attend the ceremony in Notre-Dame cathedral.