An Airbus A310-300 with 153 people on board has crashed off the Comoros islands after passengers transferred planes midway on their journey from France.

There were 142 passengers and 11 crew members on board the IY626 flight. It is thought that most were French or Comoran.

The flight left Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport on 29 June 2009 before stopping in Marseille in southern France and then went on to Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

In Sanaa, passengers changed to an Airbus A310 and departed for Moroni via Djibouti.

Two French military planes and a French ship left the Indian Ocean islands of Mayotte and Reunion to help in the search, reports Reuters, quoting a senior airport official.

This is the second Airbus disaster in a month after an A330-200 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing 228 people on board on 1 June 2009.