The Full Wiki

Bahia Bakari: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bahia Bakari (born 1996) is a French schoolgirl who became world famous as the sole survivor of Yemenia Flight 626, an Airbus A310, which crashed into the Indian Ocean near the north coast of Grande Comore, Comoros on June 30, 2009, killing all other 152 people on board.[1][2][3] Bakari, who could barely swim and had no life vest, clung to aircraft wreckage, floating in heavy seas for more than 13 hours, much of it in pitch darkness, before being rescued.[4] Her mother, who had been traveling with her from Paris, France for a summer vacation in Comoros, died in the crash.[5][6][7]

Dubbed "the miracle girl" by the world press ("la miraculée" in French), Bakari was flown back to France on a private Falcon-900 government jet, escorted by French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet. Arriving at Le Bourget airport, she was reunited with her father, Kassim Bakari, and the rest of her family, and transported to a Paris hospital for a broken collarbone, burns to her knees and other relatively minor injuries.[2][8][9][10][11][12]

Upon his return to Paris, Minister Joyandet hailed Bakari's survival:

In the midst of the mourning, there is Bahia. It is a miracle, it is an absolutely extraordinary battle for survival ... It's an enormous message that she sends to the world ... almost nothing is impossible.[8]

Bakari was released from the hospital a month later, after undergoing treatment and surgery.[13] According to Aviation Safety Network's database, Bakari is a survivor of the deadliest sole-survivor ocean crash, and the second deadliest sole-survivor crash ever.[14][15]


Flight history and crash

Airbus A310 airliner similar to the accident aircraft

Bakari and her mother, Aziza Aboudou, were traveling to the Comoros for a summer vacation. Like many of the passengers of Yemenia Flight 626, they began their voyage from Paris, France on a different plane, which made an intermediate stop in Marseille and then landed in Sana'a, Yemen. There the passengers boarded another aircraft, an Airbus A310, for the flight segment to Comoros, with a stop in Djibouti. As it descended for its approach, minutes away from its final destination of Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport, the jet plunged into the ocean 9 miles (14 km) north of the coastline of Grande Comore island, breaking apart as it hit the water, at approx. 01:50 local time (22:50 UTC).[10][16] Bakari was ejected from the plane as it crashed, and found herself floating alone outside amid debris.[2][7][17]


Map showing the Comoros Islands; red dot shows approx. crash site.[10]

In total darkness, without a life jacket and barely able to swim, Bakari drifted alongside the wreckage for hours, holding on to bits of debris to stay afloat in the heavy seas. At first she could hear voices of other passengers, but soon the voices stopped.[7][18]

When the sun came up, she realized she was all alone, in the middle of a large fuel slick, and felt thirsty and exhausted. She fell asleep, floating on a piece of wreckage, managing to avoid being swept off by the waves. At one point she saw a ship passing on the horizon, but it was too far for anyone on board to notice her.[2][7]


Since the Comoran government has no ships of its own, it asked all commercial and private vessels to help in the search and rescue effort. At approx. 15:00 local time (12:00 UTC), about 13 hours after the crash, the Sima Com 2 — a privately owned ship which normally carries passengers between Comoros and the neighboring island of Madagascar — arrived at the crash site and discovered Bakari, as the sole survivor among bits of floating wreckage.[4][7][19]

As soon as Bakari was sighted, a member of the rescue team threw her a life preserver, but the waters were too rough, and she was too exhausted to grab it. One of the sailors, Maturaffi Sélémane Libounah, jumped into the water and handed her a flotation device, after which they were both pulled safely aboard the Sima Com 2, where she was given dry blankets and a hot drink.[20][21]

Ibrahim Abdallah, another sailor on the Sima Com 2, recalled Bakari's recovery:[22]

When the girl saw us approaching, she let go of the [piece of debris] she had been using as a life preserver. Suddenly, a large wave flipped her over and she disappeared from view, until she reappeared a few minutes later. It was at this exact moment that Maturaffi jumped into the water to save her.

The ship arrived in Port Moroni at 19:25 local time (16:25 UTC), where Bakari was handed over to medical authorities and taken to a local hospital.[2][20][23]


French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet escorted Bakari to Paris on a private government jet and called her survival "a true miracle."[24]

The next day, Bakari was transported back to Paris on a private French government Falcon-900 jet, escorted by Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet.[24] Upon arrival, she was reunited with her father and other family members, and taken by ambulance to the Armand-Trousseau children's hospital in eastern Paris, where she was admitted and diagnosed with a broken collarbone, burns to her knees, cuts, bruises and exhaustion. She was released a month later after undergoing treatment and surgery.[2][13][25][26][27]

In a commemoration ceremony held in Comoros for the accident victims on July 6, Comoran President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi declared a month of national mourning in his island nation and honored Maturaffi Sélémane Libounah, the sailor who had rescued Bahia Bakari, telling him: "You saved someone else's life at the risk of losing yours."[28]

According to Aviation Safety Network's database, Bakari is a survivor of the deadliest sole-survivor airliner ocean crash, and the second deadliest sole-survivor airplane crash ever.[14][15]

See also


  1. ^ "Teen Air-Crash Survivor 'Didn't Feel a Thing'". Time magazine. July 1, 2009. Archived from the original on July 20, 2009.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Sole survivor of plane crash tells of rescue". The Sunday Times (London). July 5, 2009. Archived from the original on July 20, 2009.  
  3. ^ "Bahia Bakari, la rescapée de l'A310 de Yemenia, est arrivée en France [Bahia Bakari, Yemenia A310 survivor, arrives in France]" (in French). Agence France-Presse on July 2, 2009.  
  4. ^ a b There are conflicting sources about the exact rescue time. French Minister Alain Joyandet, who was in Comoros the day after the accident, has been quoted as saying she was picked up around 15:00, which would be over 13 hours in the water.[1]
  5. ^ "Crash survivor Bahia Bakari reunited with her family in Paris". The Australian. July 4, 2009.,25197,25728601-32682,00.html.  
  6. ^ "French aviation agency says submarine hears signals from Yemenia Airways black boxes". Associated Press on Baltimore Sun. July 5, 2009.,0,6204564.story.  
  7. ^ a b c d e "Coromos jet crash survivor Bahia Bakari tells of Airbus rescue". The Australian. July 2, 2009.,25197,25721970-601,00.html.  
  8. ^ a b "Bahia Bakari, Comoros Crash Survivor, Returns To Father in Paris". The Huffington Post. July 2, 2009.  
  9. ^ "Miracle girl Bahia Bakari, sole survivor of Yemen plane crash, reunites with father in Paris". Associated Press on Daily News (New York). July 2, 2009.  
  10. ^ a b c "'Miracle' Teen Survived 13 Hours After Plane Crash". Associated Press on CBS. July 1, 2009.  
  11. ^ "Bahia, la miraculée de 12 ans, compte se reposer en famille [Bahia, the 12 year old miracle girl, hopes to recover with her family]" (in French). Le Point.  
  12. ^ "Bahia Bakari, la miraculée du crash des Comores [Bahia Bakari, the miracle girl of the Comoros crash]" (in French). Paris Match. July 2, 2009.  
  13. ^ a b "Yemeni plane crash survivor leaves hospital". CBC News. July 24, 2009.  
  14. ^ a b "'Daddy, I couldn't see anything' - Yemenia Airbus crash survivor speaks". The Guardian. July 1, 2009.  
  15. ^ a b "Aviation accident database (from 1943)". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2009-07-11.  
  16. ^ "ASN accident record". ASN. Retrieved 2009-07-05.  
  17. ^ "Teen survives plane crash into Indian Ocean". CBC. June 30, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-05.  
  18. ^ According to data in the U.S. Naval Observatory website for the accident site (longitude E43.3, latitude S11.3), there was no moonlight after the crash, since moonset had occurred at 00:23; sunrise took place at 06:26.[2]
  19. ^ "Teen recovers after miracle rescue from Comoros jet crash". AFP on July 1, 2009.  
  20. ^ a b "Sailor recounts girl's rescue after plane crash". Associated Press on Seattle Times. July 5, 2009.  
  21. ^ According to local Comoran paper Al-watwan,[3] Bakari was rescued from the ocean at coordinates: 11°5.36′S 43°16.71′E / 11.08933°S 43.2785°E / -11.08933; 43.2785, approx. 21 miles (34 km) north of Mitsamiouli.
  22. ^ "J’étais là au bon moment [I just happened to be there at the right moment]". Al-watwan (Comoros). July 6, 2009.  ; Original quote (in French): "Quand la fille nous a vu, de loin, elle a abandonné le contre plaqué qu’elle s’est servie de bouée de sauvetage. Soudainement, une grande vague l’a renversée et on l’a plus vu avant qu’elle soit de nouveau réapparue quelques minutes après. C’est en ce moment précis, que Maturaffi s’est jeté dans l’eau pour l’arriver à son secours."
  23. ^ "'When I saw the girl, I wasn't afraid to dive in'". The Guardian. July 5, 2009.  
  24. ^ a b "'Fragile' girl clung to wreck for hours". The News & Observer. July 2, 2009.  
  25. ^ "Safety calls on Comoros crash". The New York Times on July 3, 2009.  
  26. ^ "Indian Ocean plane crash survivor reunites with family". CBC. July 2, 2009.  
  27. ^ "152 Dead in Crash, and One Story of Survival". The New York Times. July 1, 2009.  
  28. ^ "Comoros pays tribute to crash victims". AFP on Google. July 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-07.  

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address