Sixty six French nationals were on board the Yemenia Airbus A310 which crashed in the Indian Ocean off the Comoros, with 153 passengers and crew on board, the French foreign minister said on Tuesday.
"I offer my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims," said Beranrd Kouchner in a statement, adding that he was sending foreign aid minister Alain Joyandet to the Comoros.
President Nicolas Sarkozy meanwhile said he had ordered the French military to help with the search for victims. Military personnel in the Indian Ocean French territories of Mayotte and Renuion will be called upon to help, he said in a statement.
The flight started in a Paris airport Monday when an Airbus A330-200 aircraft took off for Marseille and then on to the Yemeni capital Sanaa. There passengers changed to an Airbus A310 and departed for the Comoros via Djibouti.
The plane crashed early Tuesday off the Comoros islands.