Libyan crash survivor 'is nine-year-old Dutch boy'

Reuters
Thursday 13 May 2010 11:02
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The sole survivor of a Libyan plane crash that killed 103 people is a Dutch boy who was returning from a safari holiday with his family in South Africa, a Dutch newspaper reported on Thursday.

The Afriqiyah Airways Airbus (EAD.PA) A330-200 was flying from Johannesburg to the Libyan capital Tripoli when it crashed just short of the airport runway early on Wednesday.

There had been uncertainty since the crash about the young survivor's identity but the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Thursday he was a boy named Ruben from the southern Dutch city of Tilburg.

"An employee from the Dutch embassy in Tripoli talked to him. He told them his name is Ruben and is 9-years-old and from Tilburg. He is doing reasonably well considering the circumstances," the Dutch ministry said in a statement.

The boy had suffered leg fractures but was in a stable condition, doctors at a Tripoli hospital said on Wednesday.

A woman said to be the boy's grandmother told Dutch paper Brabants Dagblad that he was travelling with his 11-year-old brother Enzo and parents Trudy and Patrick van Assouw and had been on a safari in South Africa.

"We don't understand it at all. It is as if we're in a movie," An van de Sande told the paper.

The Foreign Ministry said an aunt and uncle had landed in Tripoli and would quickly visit the boy at the hospital. The plane also carried six Dutch officials, including specialists to identify people or investigate plane crashes.

Afriqiyah Airways late on Wednesday slightly adjusted the number of nationalities of the dead, saying 58 Dutch, 6 South Africans, 2 Libyans, 2 Austrians, 1 German, 1 Zimbabwean, 1 French, and 2 British nationals were on board.

The plan also carried 11 crew members, all with the Libyan nationality, and 19 people whose nationality still needed to be confirmed, Afriqiyah said.

The aircraft is the same type as Air France (AIRF.PA) Flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic on June 1 last year. The cause of that crash has not been firmly identified.

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