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Libya plane crash boy flies home

Sat, 05/15/2010 - 1:38pm
BBC

The Dutch boy who was the sole survivor of a plane crash in Libya that killed 103 people has flown back to the Netherlands on a Libyan air ambulance.

Ruben van Assouw was accompanied by his aunt and uncle on the flight from Tripoli to Eindhoven, officials said.

The nine-year-old was told on Friday that his parents and brother had died.

The Afriqiyah Airways Airbus 330 crashed short of the runway at Tripoli airport on Wednesday, as it flew in from Johannesburg in South Africa.

The head Libyan investigator has said the pilot reported no problems during the plane's approach to land.

Ruben's aunt and uncle said their nephew was doing well under the circumstances.

Two Libyan passengers + 11 Libyan crew members

"We have explained to Ruben exactly what happened," they told journalists in Tripoli.

"He knows his parents and brother are dead. The whole family is going to bear the responsibility for Ruben's future."

Ruben had been on holiday in South Africa with his parents, Trudy and Patrick van Assouw, and his older brother, Enzo.

"The time ahead will be a difficult period for us. We hope that the media will respect our privacy," his aunt and uncle added.

The family had been celebrating the parents' 12-and-a-half-year wedding anniversary, a Dutch custom.

Sedig Benzala, the head of the medical team caring for him, said Ruben was recovering well after a four-and-a-half hour operation to repair multiple fractures to his legs.

The Airbus 330 - carrying 93 passengers and 11 crew - crashed on Wednesday morning .

The plane's flight recorders have been sent to Paris for examination.

Aftermath of the plane crash at Tripoli airport

It is not clear what caused the plane to crash just short of the runway as it approached Tripoli airport.

The head of the investigation team said the pilot had not reported any problems.

"Until the very last moment things were normal between the pilot and the control tower," Neji Dhaou told the AFP news agency.

Dutch, French, South African and US experts are helping Libya with the investigation.

Dutch forensic experts are helping to identify the bodies. Most of the passengers on the flight were from the Netherlands.


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