• The trial of the airline Yemenia, sent to justice after the crash of a plane in the Indian Ocean in 2009 which had killed 152 people, which opened on May 9 in the Paris criminal court for three weeks, continued this Monday.

  • On June 30, 2009, a Yemenia Airways Airbus A310 crashed into the sea off Moroni, the capital of the Comoros, shortly before landing.

    Only a teenager, Bahia Bakari, had survived by remaining hung for eleven hours on a piece of debris from the aircraft.

  • This Monday was marked by the testimony of the young woman, now 25 years old today, the only survivor of the crash.

At the Paris Criminal Court,

She is the only one still alive who can tell the story.

This story is that of a twelve-year-old child, who is the sole survivor of the Yemenia Airways A310 crash.

This Monday, it is all dressed in white that Bahia Bakari, 25 years old today, testified at the bar of the Paris Criminal Court which has been judging the airline for two weeks for "involuntary homicides and injuries".

On June 29, 2009, a few minutes from landing, flight 626 crashed into the sea off Moroni, the capital of the Comoros, killing 152 people, including Bahia Bakari's mother.

For almost an hour, the young woman reflected on the eleven hours spent in the water, clinging to a fragment of the device, and on her life after, that of a difficult mourning.

A "true black hole"

On June 29, 2009, at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, Bahia Bakari was “full of excitement”.

She takes the plane for the first time with her mother to go to her grandfather's wedding in the Comoros.

The plane makes a first stopover in Marseille to pick up passengers, then leaves for Sanaa, in Yemen.

At the airport, the passengers board a third plane, "smaller", "older", but "without being dilapidated", to reach Moroni, the drop-off point for the mother-daughter duo.

A few minutes before landing, the aircraft normally began its descent.

Passengers return to their seats and fasten their seat belts, as required by the safety instructions.

“I straightened my seat, fastened my seat belt.

There was some turbulence, but nobody reacted more than that, I told myself that it must be normal.

After that, I take an electric shock and I wake up in the water.

It's a real black hole."

In the middle of the Indian Ocean, the little girl clings to a fragment of the device, "the largest" that she finds.

"Conscious" at that time, she heard "voices calling for help", but she "didn't see anyone", she said, estimating that there were probably "five or six people", only "women".

After a few hours, the teenager ended up falling asleep.

"She was my best friend"

Bahia Bakari wakes up in the early morning, still clinging to a piece of the plane wreckage, but this time there is complete silence.

The voices disappeared.

The teenager is alone in the ocean, surrounded by debris.

“I see the silhouette of the island in the distance and I try to swim, but the sea is very rough.

I didn't see how I was going to get out of it."

At that time, Bahia Bakari thinks she is the only one to have fallen from the plane.

"I was convinced that everyone had arrived, including my mother, I knew she would not have supported if I had given up," she says.

After eleven hours of drifting, she is miraculously spotted by a boat which brings her back to Moroni.

Hospitalized for “collarbone, pelvis and eye fractures” and second degree burns, especially on the feet, the child asks where his mother is.

“I was told that I was the only one found at that time and that no other survivors were expected to be found”.

She was quickly repatriated to France and stayed in hospital for about twenty days.

If her physical consequences are relatively superficial for an accident like this, the death of her mother is much more complicated for the young woman to manage.

At the time of the mention, this Monday, the emotion wins Bahia Bakari, but also part of the room.

“I have no physical after-effects.

What was hard to deal with was being the sole survivor and dealing with the loss of my mother.

I was very close to her, she was my best friend, ”she explains, crying.

A difficult mourning also for his two brothers, his sister and his father who had to change jobs and asked for help from his family.

"It was hard, but we adapted as we went along," she continues.

“Reopen the box” of memories

Thirteen years after the events, even if she had "many nightmares" and suffered from "sleep disorders", the young woman, who now works in real estate, is "much better".

She took the plane, two years after the crash, to return to the Comoros to the grave of her mother, buried there.

"I was lucky that my mother could be identified, because not all of the victims are."

Even if she had to "reopen the box" of these memories, this trial is a "relief" for Bahia Bakari.

"I'm happy to have these memories because, casually, it's part of my story."

Our file on the crash

The young woman nevertheless regrets the absence of a representative from Yemenia: “I would have liked them to be there to listen to us.

I would have liked an apology, and especially answers.

And feel respected.

At the end of the hearing, the one who has become the spokesperson for the drama does not forget the victims of the crash: "We often tend to mention that there is a little girl who survived, but it is above all a drama.

There are 152 people who disappeared that day.”


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