DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzanian authorities have spotted some 13 bodies believed to be from a Yemeni airliner that crashed into the sea off the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros last week, an official said on Tuesday.
“We have a report from the district commissioner in Mafia, sent to the Prime Minister, saying that they have discovered about 13 bodies,” said Saidi Nguba, spokesman for Tanzania’s prime minister, adding that plane wreckage had been found.
“It is confirmed, according to these reports, that these are remains of a plane,” he told Reuters.
Tanzanian police said earlier on Tuesday there were reports of some bodies washing up on Mafia Island off the coast of the east African country, northwest of the crash site.
Only one survivor out of 153 people on board has been found.
Mafia district commissioner Manzie Mangochei told television stations by phone the bodies were found floating around various parts of the island. He said bodies first appeared on Monday but the choppy waters made it difficult to retrieve them.
He said on state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation that what appeared to be plane seats had been recovered and they were trying to verify whether other debris was part of a wing.
Rescue teams have detected a signal from the plane’s flight recorders but say it could take a while to reach the wreck as it is in deep water.
Comoran army chief Colonel Ismael Moegni Daho said they had been sent reports of the discoveries by Tanzania and were sending a team of local investigators and aviation experts to Mafia early on Wednesday.