A310 crashes in Indian Ocean, 150ish aboard


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Rescuers were today searching for survivors in the Indian Ocean after an airliner belonging to the Yemeni state carrier crashed in the Comoros archipelago with more than 150 people on board.
Most of the passengers on the the Yemenia Air Airbus 310, which had been flying from the Yemen capital, San'a, to the main island of Grand Comore, were believed to be Comoros residents returning from Paris.
A Yemenia Air official said the plane, which authorities believe crashed in the early hours of the morning, had 142 passengers and 11 crew members on board.
A senior government official said it was unclear whether there were any survivors.
"The plane has crashed ... we still don't know exactly where," Idi Nadhoim, the Comoros vice-president, told Reuters from the airport at the Grand Comore capital, Moroni.
"We think it's in the area of Mitsamiouli ... we don't know if there are any survivors among the 150 people on the plane."
Ibrahim Kassim, a representative from Asenca, the regional air security body, said the plane was believed to have come down between three and six miles from the coast.
"We think the crash is somewhere along its landing approach," he said. "The weather is really not very favourable. The sea is very rough."
Military and civilian boats have been mobilised to assist with the search operation.
French military planes from the Indian Ocean islands of Mayotte and Reunion have also begun searching, and the army has sent speedboats to the area.
A Paris airport spokeswoman said a Yemenia flight left Paris yesterday morning, landing in Yemen before taking off for Moroni.
The Comoros covers three small volcanic islands, Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli, in the Mozambique channel.
The islands lie 190 miles northwest of Madagascar and a similar distance east of the African mainland.