158 killed in Libyan 'mid-air collision'

TUNIS (Reuter) - A Libyan Boeing 727 crashed yesterday, killing all 158 people on board. A Libyan Arab Airlines official said the authorities were investigating reports that the crash was the result of a mid-air collision.

The plane, on an internal flight to Tripoli from the eastern city of Benghazi, crashed near the town of Souk al-Sabt, about 35 miles south-east of the capital, the official said. The official Libyan news agency, JANA, said there were foreigners on board the airliner but gave no details.

The plane had left Benghazi at 9am and was approaching Tripoli when the accident occurred at 10.07am, the official said. There were no inhabitants in the area where the plane crashed. The airline is preparing a list of the passengers and will release it later, he said. A spokesman for the Libyan civil aviation authority had said earlier that he was forbidden to release any details of the accident, including the type of plane.

Tripoli residents said the passenger plane apparently collided with a Libyan military plane. The crew of the warplane survived by parachuting to the ground, they said. 'This is still under investigation,' the airline official said of the collision reports.

Libyan Arab Airlines has flown only domestic flights since April, when the United Nations imposed an air blockade as part of a package to punish Libya for refusing to hand over two men accused of planting explosives on board a Pan Am plane which blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, on 21 December, 1988 - killing 270 people.

The sanctions include a ban of sales of aviation spare parts to Libya. Major Abdel-Salam Jalloud, second-in-command to the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, said in November this was putting the lives of passengers at risk.

Libya has said it will allow the two Lockerbie suspects to face trial abroad provided it is sure the trial will be fair. It has not agreed to let them stand trial in Britain or the United States, the countries in which they are wanted. Libya is also at odds with France over four men wanted for questioning about a plane from a French airline, UTA, which blew up over Niger in 1989.

In London, Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP for Linlithgow, yesterday wrote to the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, urging him to lift trade sanctions on Libya at least as far as aircraft parts were concerned, as a gesture of goodwill. Mr Dalyell, who visited Libya in November last year on a fact-finding mission, said: 'Many Britons who work in engineering companies in Libya fly the Benghazi-Tripoli route.'

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power