Missile blamed for Airbus crash

There are fresh claims from Yemen that the Yemenia Airbus which crashed into the sea off the Comoros islands last June was accidentally shot down by a French missile. 

Speculation that this was the cause first surfaced in Yemen and the Comoros a few days after the crash, but now Almotamar.net (a website belonging to Yemen’s ruling party)says it has been confirmed “by aviation experts and results of examining the black box”. It adds that the Yemeni government will be seeking recompense from France.

I have always been sceptical of this explanation and it is difficult to see what the “confirmation” claim is based on. The official investigation is far from complete but an initial report last week regarding transcripts from the cockpit voice recorder said that "no sound of an explosion has been detected” and that this supports the theory that the aircraft broke up on impact with water.

An article in Flight International discusses the diplomatic row that has ensued after the crash. Yemenia’s business has suffered considerably in Europe, mainly because of repeated European allegations about the airline’s attitude to safety. Yemen, consequently, is anxious to exonerate Yemenia and its pilots.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 25 October 2009.