The sole survivor of a 2009 plane crash off the Comoros islands that claimed the lives of 152 people has described the final minutes to a Paris court.
"I felt turbulence but I thought that was normal," Bahia Bakari, now 25, said recounting her ordeal as a 12-year-old girl.
"Suddenly I felt an electric shock that paralysed my whole body and went upwards. I had no chance to react."
She criticised Yemen Airways, which is now known as Yemenia, for not sending a representative to the court hearing.
"I would have wanted them to listen to us, to listen to me, to have felt myself respected," she said.
Bakari recalled how she had become conscious again in the sea where she clung to a piece of wreckage.
"I heard cries for help in the water but I was completely alone," she said.
She spent 10 hours in the sea before being rescued.
She described how she had continued to hope that her mother had also survived, only to find out in hospital that she had died.
Life with three younger siblings and without her mother had not been easy.
"I knew my siblings needed our mother but I couldn't replace her," Bakari said.#
Several relatives present in court left the proceedings overcome with emotion.
For two weeks the court has been examining whether flight operator Yemenia must answer for manslaughter and unintentional injuries.
The victims - 65 of whom were French - had departed from Paris or Marseilles before landing in Yemen's capital Sanaa to make their connecting flight to the Comoros, an archipelago off Africa's east coast.
Shortly before landing in the capital Moroni the Airbus jet went down into the Indian Ocean amid poor weather conditions, with human error believed to have been to blame.
The French civil aviation safety authority BEA determined that mistakes by the pilot caused the crash.
One question is whether he was sufficiently trained or whether the runway was not properly lit.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
Bakari, who describes herself as "a proud Comorian," stood with the more than 250 plaintiffs, who mostly come from Comoros, in the packed courtroom.
The trial was broadcast live in a courtroom in Marseille, where many victims came from.
She co-wrote a book Bahia, the Miracle Girl, and told the court she did it for the victim's' relatives, to "leave them something to hold on to".
with reporting from DPA
Australian Associated Press
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