Embraer E120ER Went Down In The Indian Ocean Off The Comoros Islands
A charter flight operated by Inter-Iles Air, a small, Comoros-based carrier, went down in the Indian Ocean late Tuesday shortly after takeoff from the Comoros Islands. All 29 people on board the Embraer E120ER turboprop survived the ditching.
USA Today reports that, according to The Aviation Herald, the plane departed Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport near the Comoros capital of Moroni. It was reportedly unable to maintain altitude, and went down in the water about 200 yards off shore.
CNN reports that the pilot recognized that there was a problem with the airplane almost immediately after takeoff, and was attempting to return to the airport when he was forced to put the plane in the water. The airplane had 25 passengers and four crew on board, and all were rescued by fishermen who helped them get to shore.
One person who had been on board the airplane, described as a "senior military official," told Reuters that he saw fuel leaking from the airplane after takeoff. The pilot attempted to return to the airport after being made aware of the problem.
The flight was heading to the nearby Comoros island of Anjouan.