May 13th, 2010
09:20 AM ET

Number of Dutch dead rises in Libya plane crash

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.

An 8-year-old boy who is a Dutch citizen is the sole survivor of the crash, airline officials said Wednesday.

Afriqiyah Airways confirmed in a statement on its website late Wednesday that the other 92 passengers and 11 crew members were killed when the plan crashed while trying to land at the Tripoli International Airport.

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.

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.

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.

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

"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, who spoke 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.

The Tripoli-based Afriqiyah (Arabic for "African") operates flights to four continents.

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.

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