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Crash survivor's family arrives in Tripoli

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Libya crash survivor doing well
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Seventy Dutch passengers were among 103 people killed in Libya plane crash
  • An 8-year-old Dutch boy suffers multiple broken bones but survives
  • Airbus A330-200 commercial flight crashes during landing at airport in Tripoli, Libya
  • 92 passengers and 11 crew members were killed

(CNN) -- Seventy Dutch passengers were among the 103 people killed in Wednesday's plane crash in Libya, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Officials had previously said 58 Dutch passengers died in the accident Wednesday.

A 9-year-old boy, a Dutch citizen, is the sole survivor of the crash, airline officials said Wednesday.

His mother, father and older brother were killed in the crash, Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Francesco Mascini said. His aunt and uncle have arrived in Tripoli to visit him, Mascini said.

The child, identified as Ruben van Assouw, suffered multiple fractures in his lower limbs and underwent an operation at Al Khadra Hospital in Tripoli, a doctor at the hospital said.

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He bled quite a bit but is now much better, said the doctor, who declined to give her name.

The boy has seen a Dutch Embassy representative and is sedated and asleep, she said Wednesday night local time.

He will undergo multiple scans Thursday, she said.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry, which had a representative at the hospital waiting to identify the boy, declined to confirm the child's name.

Afriqiyah Airways confirmed on its Web site late Wednesday that the other 92 passengers and 11 crew members were killed when the plane crashed while trying to land at the Tripoli International Airport.

The Afriqiyah Airways plane originated in Johannesburg, South Africa. Among the others killed were six South Africans, two Libyans, two Austrians, one German, one French person, one Zimbabwean and two British citizens, in addition to the 70 Dutch citizens.

A handful of other passengers' nationalities have yet to be identified. The 11 crew members were all Libyan.

Fate or fluke? Air crash sole survivors

The plane, an Airbus A330-200, was at the end of its nearly nine-hour flight when it crashed at 6 a.m.

"We express our sincere regret and sadness on behalf of the airline. As well, we would like to express our condolences to the relatives and friends of those who had passengers on Flight 8U771 destined for Tripoli late last night, due to arrive around 6 o'clock this morning," said Nicky Knapp, a representative of the Airports Company South Africa. She was speaking on behalf of Afriqiyah Airways.

Calling the incident a tragedy, Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, said the child's survival, "given this tragic event, is truly a miracle."

Officials recovered the plane's flight data recorder, which investigators use to piece together a flight's last minutes.

Saleh ali Saleh, Afriqiyah's chief legal officer, said the pilot of the doomed plane came to Afriqiyah from Libyan Arab Airlines two years ago. Saleh said the plane had been checked in December and had no problems.

The Tripoli-based Afriqiyah (Arabic for "African") operates flights to four continents and has flown two flights per week from Johannesburg to Tripoli since September. The airline was established in 2001 and is privately owned.

The planes in the fleet carry the logo 9.9.99: the date when the African Union was formed.

The plane that crashed was one of three Airbus 330-200s that the airline owns, although airline officials said they anticipated the delivery of four Airbus 320s this year.

CNN's Stephanie Halasz and Frances Townsend contributed to this report.

 
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