Miracle at Sea: One Person Rescued from Deadly Jet Crash

Not many commercial airlines fly directly to the tiny African nation. The most common route taken from Europe is through Tanzania or Madagascar, where domestic and international airlines fly regularly.

The Comoro community in Marseille has long denounced the safety conditions of the flights between Yemen and the Comoros.

"These are flights on which there are no seat belts, or they are faulty. The restrooms are faulty," Farid Soilihi, spokesman for SOS Comoros Travel, an organization formed to call attention to the unsafe travel conditions to the African nation, told France 2 TV in Marseille.

The Comoro community organized a demonstration last August in Marseille to denounce the "garbage can airplanes" between Yemen and the Comoros. Representatives of the community traveled to Yemen and Comoros to alert authorities on the risks of a disaster.

Today they are saying they were not heard. In Paris, passengers who regularly use the airline denounced a company on its last legs.

"When we arrive in Yemen, they change aircrafts," one regular passenger told the French media. "They put us on board wrecks. They put us in coffins."

Airbus will send a team of specialists to the Comoros, the company said in a statement. It also said the twin-engine jet has been in service for 19 years and has accumulated 51,900 flight hours. Yemenia had operated the plane since 1999.

Christophe SchpoIansky reported from Paris. Dragana Jovanovic and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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