The 12-year-old girl who spent 13 hours at sea clinging to wreckage after her plane crashed said when the jetliner plummeted into the Indian Ocean it felt "like being electrocuted."
Bahia Bakari, the sole survivor of the crash, told her family she felt "hot and cold" as she held onto a piece of fuselage and saw a ship passing by but was too far away to be noticed, the Times Online (U.K.) reported.
By the time rescuers reached her, she was too weak to wave at them. She was given a blanket and water with sugar, according to the paper.
"I was really thirsty," Bahia told one of her aunts, Houzaimata Bakari.
“I was hearing people speak but I couldn’t see anyone,” she told her father. “I was in the dark. I couldn’t see anything. Daddy, I couldn’t swim very well. I grabbed on to something but I don’t know what.”
She grew tired and was eventually rocked to sleep upon a piece of fuselage When she awoke, she was completely alone in the middle of a huge oil slick. She had no life jacket.
When rescuers reached her, they tossed a life vest to her, but the choppy seas and her exhaustion made the efforts futile. A rescuer had to jump into the water and pull her out.
Unsure of how to tell her that her mother did not survive the flight, loved ones told Bakari that her mother was next door to her in the Comoros hospital she was taken to.
She didn't buy it.
“I know that Mummy is not in the room next door like they said, otherwise she would have already come to see me,” she told her aunt. “I understand, you know."
On Thursday she was transported to a Paris hospital where she is being treated for a broken collarbone, bruises, cuts, burns and exhaustion.
The doomed flight left from Paris en route to the island nation of Comoros. The plane crashed as it approached its destination. The cause of the crash is not known, though the answers may be found in the plane's black boxes, which were detected Sunday morning.