Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Saturday, 15 May 2010 14:13 UK

Dutch boy who survived Libya crash flies home

Survivor of Tripoli plane crash
Libyan TV showed Ruben van Assouw being treated in hospital

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.

67 Dutch
13 South African
Four Belgian
Two Libyan passengers + 11 Libyan crew members
Two Austrian
One British
One German
One Zimbabwean
One French
One unknown nationality
Source: Afriqiyah Airways

"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.

Libya crash survivor boy 'stable'
13 May 10 |  Africa
Child survives Tripoli air crash
12 May 10 |  Africa
Briton among Libya air crash dead
13 May 10 |  Africa
In pictures: Libya crash
12 May 10 |  In Pictures
Air disasters timeline
24 May 10 |  Special Reports

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific