Two Britons and Irish author among dead

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The Independent Online

Two British people were among those killed in a plane crash at Tripoli airport in Libya, according to the Foreign Office.

A nine-year-old Dutch boy is the sole survivor of the crash, which killed 103 people.

Several of his family members arrived at his bedside yesterday. Doctors treating the boy, named as Ruben van Assouw, say he suffered serious leg fractures but is in a "stable condition". He is breathing normally, and his vital organs are "intact". His head and spine were not affected by the crash.

His grandmother, An van de Sande, told a Dutch newspaper that he had been on holiday in South Africa to celebrate his parents' wedding anniversary with them.

The boy has not yet been told that his parents, Trudy and Patrick van Assouw, and his elder brother Enzo, 11, have been killed in the accident.

Others killed in the accident include the Irish novelist Bree O'Mara, author of Home Affairs. She had missed the London Book Fair because of the volcanic ash shutdown and had been forced to delay her trip to sign a book deal until this week.

Priscilla Collick, 52, a South African national who had been living near Swansea, South Wales, for almost 30 years, was returning home after visiting relatives in South Africa.

Her elder son, Sean Collick, 24, told the South Wales Evening Post: "I don't know what I am going to do without her."

The plane crashed as it arrived from Johannesburg, South Africa, where passengers were due to transfer to several Europe-bound flights.

At least 58 of the 103 victims were Dutch nationals. Thirteen Libyans, including 11 crew, were killed. Two Austrian, one German, a Zimbabwean and 17 others of as yet unknown nationality also died.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said he was "greatly saddened" by the crash.

The cause of the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A-330's crash is not yet clear. The flight recorders have been recovered and given to investigators.

Libya's Transport minister, Mohammed Ali Zidan, has ruled out terrorism. Some pilots have speculated that it could have been the result of human rather than mechanical failure, and have also drawn attention to the outdated landing system at Tripoli airport.

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