Yemenia Airways Airbus A310-324 plane crash
off Mitsamiouli, Comoros
The Airbus A310-304 owned by International Lease Finance Corporation and operated by Yemenia Airways was on a passenger flight from Sana'a, Yemen, to Moroni, Comoros. The plane was carrying 142 passengers and 11 crewmembers. It crashed into the ocean as it approached the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros in bad weather.
Among the 153 people onboard, only a 14-year-old girl has been rescued alive. The plane attempted a first approach that ended with a go-around. The Airbus 310 then returned above the ocean, and crashed in poor weather conditions and strong winds (about 35 kts) about eight nautical miles north from the Comoran coast and 18 nautical miles from the Moroni airport.
The accident was due to inappropriate actions of the crew on the flight controls which brought the aircraft into a stall situation which was not recovered. These actions were consecutive to an unstabilized visual maneuver, during which numerous and different alarms relating to the proximity of the ground, the configuration of the aircraft and the approach to the stall were activated. The crew, whose attention was focused on managing the aircraft's trajectory and locating the runway, probably did not have the mental resources available in this stressful situation to react adequately to the various alarms.
Contributing to the accident were:
- The weather conditions at the airport (wind gusts around 30 kts).
- The absence of training or briefing of the crew before the execution of flight on Moroni in accordance with the operations manual of the company Yemenia, with regard to the hesitation of the pilot to carry out the circling with prescribed tracks (none of the documents given to the investigation illustrates these trainings).
- The non application of the procedure following the PULL UP alarm by the crew.
This accident is the 20th worst plane crash since year 2000 in terms of the number of combined onboard and ground fatalities.