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Plane Crashes Off Comoros, All Survive

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A plane crashed in the Indian Ocean off the Comoros Islands on Tuesday after suffering mechanical problems, but all 29 people on board survived, officials said.

The Embraer jet went down a few minutes after taking off from Moroni airport at about 1 pm local time, they said. The plane, belonging to Inter-Iles, had been bound for the nearby island of Anjouan.

A senior military official who gave his name only as Zarouk and was on board the plane, said aircraft fuel was leaking "like an open tap" upon take-off.

He alerted the pilot who decided to return to the airport, but was unable to land in time, instead crashed into the sea.

Abu Mohamed Ali, director general of Civil Aviation for the Comoros Islands, said all 29 people on board - 25 passengers and four crew - were safe. The pilot suffered head injuries while the rest were unhurt. Fishermen appeared to have led the search-and-rescue operation.

(Reuters)

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