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Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 18:29 UK

Plane crash in Libya 'kills more than 100'

Aftermath of the plane crash at Tripoli airport

A passenger plane has crashed in Libya, killing more than 100 people on board, officials in the capital Tripoli say.

The Airbus A330 crashed on landing at Tripoli airport after a flight from Johannesburg, Afriqiyah Airways said.

Sixty-one Dutch nationals were among those killed, the Dutch tourism board said. A Dutch child was the sole known survivor, the Libyans say.

Officials say people from at least 10 countries were on the flight. The 11 crew were said to be Libyan.

Airports Company South Africa revealed details of passengers' connecting flights

Libyan Transport Minister Mohammed Ali Zidan confirmed that victims included nationals from the Netherlands, Libya, Britain, Germany, Finland, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, South Africa and France, although he had no exact numbers.

The British Foreign Office confirmed that at least one British national was on board.

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin later confirmed that an Irish woman was among the dead.

Afriqiyah Airways said there were two German victims, one each from the Philippines and Zimbabwe, and at least 13 Libyans.

Nicky Knapp, a spokeswoman for Airports Company South Africa, said seven passengers were booked to connect to London Gatwick Airport, 32 to Brussels, 42 to Dusseldorf in Germany, and one to Charles de Gaulle in Paris.

"A 24-hour helpline has been set up to assist families and relatives," she said.

The plane's final destination was scheduled to have been Tripoli, said Afriqiyah.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende confirmed that "several dozen" Dutch nationals were killed.

VICTIMS' NATIONALITIES
Libyan
Dutch
German
British
Finnish
Zimbabwean
Philippine
South African
French
Irish

Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Ad Meijer said the child who survived was undergoing surgery in Tripoli for injuries including broken bones.

Libyan TV showed the child in a hospital bed with a bandaged head and wearing an oxygen mask.

A doctor, speaking in Arabic in the video, said the child had "several breaks in both legs and is under intensive care but is stable".

There were conflicting reports as to whether the survivor was a boy or a girl.

Early reports quoted Libyan officials saying the survivor was a boy. However, Dutch broadcaster NOS translated a doctor as saying the child was a girl.

The Dutch daily Telegraaf said the child had been travelling with his or her parents and an 11-year-old sibling, but this was not confirmed.

On its website, Afriqiyah Airways announced "the tragic loss" of flight 8U771 at 0600 local time (0400 GMT).

"We extend our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. The search and rescue mission has now been completed," its statement said.

Libyan Transport Minister Mohammed Ali Zidan said 104 people had been on board the plane - 93 passengers and 11 crew.

He said that the remains of 96 victims had already been recovered.

Survivor of Tripoli plane crash
Libyan TV showed the child who survived being treated in hospital

Libya's state TV showed footage of a field scattered with pieces of plane debris, and police and rescuers walking with surgical masks and gloves.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. Some reports suggest the plane crashed very close to the runway.

"It exploded on landing and totally disintegrated," a Libyan security official told news agency AFP.

'Not terrorism'

A flight recorder has already been recovered, and officials hope this will provide some clues as to what caused the disaster.

However, Mr Zidan ruled out terrorism as the cause of the crash.

The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says the airport is currently sealed off and ambulances have been going back and forth to the airport.

Map

South African President Jacob Zuma offered his condolences to families of the victims.

"Our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones in this tragedy," he said, during a speech to parliament in Cape Town.

According to Airbus, the aircraft was delivered from the production line in September 2009 and had accumulated about 1,600 flight hours in some 420 flights.

Afriqiyah Airways is a low-cost Libyan airline founded nine years ago and operates a relatively new fleet of Airbus aircraft, the BBC's Wyre Davies in Cairo reports.

It flies many routes between Africa and Europe with passengers often transiting through Tripoli, our correspondent adds.

Daniel Hoeltgen, spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency, said the airline had undergone 10 recent safety inspections at European airports, with no significant safety findings, the Associated Press reports.

He added that a team of French crash investigators was already on its way to Tripoli to help Libyan officials determine the cause of the crash.



SEE ALSO
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

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Yahoo! UK and Ireland Libya plane crash boy survivor 'getting better' - 2 hrs ago
NDTV Child is stable after Libyan air crash - 2 hrs ago
Guardian.co.uk Tripoli plane crash: Boy who survived is out of danger - 2 hrs ago
ABC Online Libyan crash survivor loses parents, brother - 3 hrs ago
Citizen.co.za Libya plane crash survivor 'stable but confused' - 3 hrs ago


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