The criminal court found the Yemeni company guilty of manslaughter and involuntary injuries, also requiring it to pay two associations more than one million euros in legal fees and damages.

The company’s lawyer immediately announced that it would appeal.

On the night of June 29 to 30, 2009, while preparing to land at Moroni airport, the capital of the Comoros, Yemenia flight 626 crashed into the Indian Ocean taking the lives of 141 passengers, including 65 French, and 11 crew members.

The only survivor of the disaster, Bahia Bakari, then 12 years old, had remained clinging to a wreckage of the plane for ten hours in the waves before being rescued.

The investigations, carried out in particular on the black boxes of the device found at the bottom of the ocean at the end of August 2009, concluded that the accident was due to a series of pilot errors.

After a long investigation, the company operating the flight was sent to court. The trial took place from May 9 to June 2 and the decision was reserved.

“The court found that Yemenia Airways had complied with the regulations, on the other hand, it retained two imprudences in direct connection with the accident”, detailed the president in pronouncing the decision.

“On the one hand, the maintenance of night flights” to the Comoros during the summer period, despite the malfunction of certain lights at Moroni airport, and “on the other hand, the assignment of the co-pilot of this flight” , despite “fragilities” in his training, added the magistrate.

“The recklessness committed demonstrates a culture of safety and failing responsibility on the part of the company,” she said.

The court ordered the company to pay with provisional execution, i.e. without delay, one million euros in lawyers’ fees and 50,000 euros for the costs of accompanying relatives to the association of the families of disaster victims.

The National Federation of Victims of Attacks and Collective Accidents was awarded 10,000 euros for non-pecuniary damage and 20,000 euros in legal costs.