Bahia Bakari (born 15 August 1996) is a French woman who was 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 30 June 2009, killing the 152 other people on board. Bakari, who could barely swim and had no life vest, clung to a piece of aircraft wreckage, floating in heavy seas for over nine hours, much of it in pitch darkness, before being rescued. Her mother, who had been traveling with her from Paris, France, for a summer vacation in Comoros, died in the crash.
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. 11 local time (08:00 UTC), about 9 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.
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.
Ibrahim Abdallah, another sailor on the Sima Com 2, recalled Bakari's recovery:
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.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.