Thirteen years after the tragedy, Yemenia Airways trial opens in Paris

This will no doubt be one of the highlights of the trial that the victim’s family and relatives have been waiting for for thirteen years. Bahia Bakari, the sole survivor of the Yamania Airways Airbus A310 air disaster, which occurred on June 29, 2009, is expected to testify at the Paris Criminal Court trial. The airline is on trial there starting May 9 for manslaughter and unintentional injury.

“Thirteen years is a long time: psychologically and morally exhausting, and even physically”said Said Assoumani, president of the disaster victims’ association. But, after thirteen years of waiting and impatience, the criminal trial has finally arrived. »

On 29 June 2009, Yamania flight 626 was about to land in Moroni, the capital of the Comoros, with 11 crew members and 142 passengers on board, including 66 French. Departing from Paris or Marseille, they change planes in Sanaa, in Yemen. The plane would crash into the Indian Ocean a few kilometers from the coast, before sinking.

560 civil parties

Over the course of four weeks, the court had to examine the liability of Yamania Airways, which was fined €225,000. Faced with about 560 people who are civilian parties, the seats are empty: the company bench whose leader will be absent, due to the war raging in Yemen, according to the lawyer for Yemen.

“Yemen remains very marked by this disaster, especially for the victims, but he protested his innocence by showing that he is in no way responsible for the intervening facts.”, supporting his lawyer Me Léon-Lef Forster. If the latter admits “damage”he confirmed that they were not “responsible” to the company.

The investigation was long and tiring. French authorities have temporarily denounced their Comoros colleagues for not cooperating, while the families of the victims have accused Yemen of exerting pressure to prevent interrogations of its national company…

“Inappropriate actions of the crew”

However, the investigation concluded that the condition of the Airbus A310, which was built in 1990, was not involved in the crash. Also, for that matter, the weather, or even missile launches. According to experts, the accident was caused by “Inappropriate behavior of the crew during approach to Moroni airport, which resulted in loss of control of the aircraft”.

However, the examining judge considered that Yemenia Airways had “failed in many ways”, in particular by maintaining night flights for Moroni, even though the airport beacon has long been out of order, as well as for “lack” in pilot training, qualify as “short”.

“Trash Airplane Experiment”

According to Sad Assoumani, the trial will allow to establish responsibility “at all levels”. “We never wanted to put this accident behind fate”, he explained in an interview with AFP in which he described the trial as “Junk, flawed, irresponsible planes which mean that, with a race for profit, we come to tragedy. »

According to the victims’ association, only two-thirds of the victims’ families received compensation, mainly because the insurance company’s lawyers would make sure to block any procedures.

Cheryl Tenny

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