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Africa
Libya crash survivor 'doing well'
Investigators comb through debris for more clues on Libya's deadly plane crash.
Last Modified: 13 May 2010 18:27 GMT
Dutch forensic experts are inspecting the crash site of an Afriqiyah Airways passenger plane in Tripoli [AFP]

A 9-year-old Dutch boy who was the sole survivor from a plane crash in Libya has been reported to be in stable condition.

The Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 came down on a plot of barren land just short of the runway on Wednesday morning, killing 103 people, including 11 crew and 70 Dutch nationals.

The boy, identified as "Ruben" by the Dutch foreign ministry, is recovering after surgery to his smashed legs, the doctor treating him in Tripoli said.

The Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement released on Thursday that Ruben was doing reasonably well considering the circumstances.

"The child underwent several rounds of surgery to his legs. He had simple fractures and double fractures," the doctor said on Libyan state television, which also showed pictures of the boy's legs in casts.

The ministry statement added that the family of Ruben were among those who  perished.

Officials said the boy's aunt and uncle flew from the Netherlands and arrived at the al-Khadra hospital in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, where Ruben was being kept under care.

The boy immediately recognised his loved ones and smiled at them when they came in, a Dutch Embassy spokeswoman on Thursday told NOS, a Dutch state broadcaster.

Investigation underway

Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch prime minister, said that Dutch embassy officials in Libya were at the scene, gathering information and providing assistance.

Recent air crashes


 10 April 2010: Plane carrying Polish president, his wife and 94 others - including much of Poland's political establishment - crashes in western Russia, killing all on board.

 30 June 2009: Plane belonging to Yemeni state airline crashes off Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros with 153 people on board. A 13-year-old girl survives.

 1 June 2009: Air France Airbus plane travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappears in the Atlantic with 228 people on board.

 20 May 2009: Indonesian army C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes into a village on eastern Java, killing at least 97 people.

 12 February 2009: Plane crashes into a house in Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground.

The Libyan aircraft, which was on a regular flight from Johannesburg, crashed while attempting to land at the airport in Tripoli.

Aviation experts combed through debris for more clues on Thursday after finding the two black boxes from the Airbus jet.

Planemaker Airbus issued a statement confirming it had manufactured the plane involved in the crash.

"Airbus will provide full technical assistance to the authorities responsible for the investigation into the accident," it said.

The crashed aircraft was delivered from the production line in September 2009 and had accumulated about 1,600 flight hours in around 420 flights, Airbus said.

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

Mysterious incident

Afriqiyah Airways executives said the crash was the first in the history of the airline, which was established in 2001.

Chris Yates, an aviation analyst, who talked to Al Jazeera from Manchester, UK said the fact that the aircraft is new makes the incident sort of mysterious.

"We are trying to put the picture together. There are two black boxes. One records data and one records voices and conversation with ground operations. There are a lot of data," Yates said.

"We are taking maintenance issues into consideration, but we can't rule out anything right now. It will take days until we have definite answers."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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