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Black Box Not Found in Comoros Airliner Crash


French officials said no flight recorders from the airliner that crashed off Comoros have been located, contrary to earlier reports.

French and Yemeni officials said early Wednesday that a signal from one of the so-called "black boxes" had been detected. But the French Defense Ministry now says that signal was from one of the plane's distress beacons.

The Yemenia Air flight, which originated in Paris, crashed in the Indian Ocean early Tuesday with 153 people on board.

Rescuers have found only one survivor - 14-year-old Bahia Bakari, who was traveling with her mother from France to visit family.

A French official, Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet, said Bakari clung to a piece of floating debris for some 12 hours until she was rescued.

Her father, who said he talked to his daughter by phone, reported that she heard people speaking after the crash, indicating that some other people initially survived.

Comorans in France angered by the crash tried to block passengers from boarding another Yemenia Air flight in Paris Wednesday. The flight eventually took off with only 60 of a scheduled 160 passengers on board.

Yemenia Air said it will give about $28,000 to each family who lost a loved one in Tuesday's crash. It called the compensation preliminary.

Rescue efforts continued off Comoros Wednesday but hopes of finding more survivors have faded.

Sixty-six French nationals were on the flight. Yemeni officials have said there were also nationals from Yemen, Comoros, Canada, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, and the Philippines on board the Airbus 310.

The cause of the crash remains unclear. A Yemeni civil aviation spokesman, Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Kader, has said winds were high at the time of the crash, and the plane was attempting to land in the middle of the night.

France's transport minister, Dominique Bussereau, said French inspectors detected a number of faults with the airplane during a 2007 inspection and that Yemenia Air was being subjected to closer inspections.

The Yemenia Air plane is the second Airbus plane to crash this month. An Air France Airbus A330, traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean June 1, killing all 228 people onboard.

The Comoros is made up of three islands about 300 kilometers northwest of Madagascar, in the Mozambique channel.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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