12 May : An eight-year-old Dutch boy was the sole survivor when a Libyan plane arriving from South Africa exploded on landing at Tripoli airport on Wednesday, killing more than 100 people, officials said.
Afriqiyah Airways listed 93 passengers and 11 crew members on board its flight 8U771 from Johannesburg.
“I can confirm the crash but not the number of the dead,” said Bongani Sithole, an official of the airline at Johannesburg airport. “We hear that it happened one metre (yard) away from the runway.”
A Libyan security official earlier told a news agency that all those on board the Airbus A330 had died but an airport official said in fact a Dutch boy had survived and been rushed to hospital near Tripoli.
There was no immediate indication of the cause of the crash, which occurred as the Afriqiyah Airways plane was landing after a flight from Johannesburg at around 6 am (9.30 IST).
“It exploded on landing and totally disintegrated,” the security official told, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The crew members were all Libyan nationals, the official added.
The crash site had been sealed off by security officials and ambulances and emergency vehicles were seen rushing between the airport and the capital, about 50 kilometres apart.
The wreckage could be seen in the distance but no plumes of smoke were evident. Weather conditions were good at Tripoli this morning, with only light clouds in the sky.
Afriqiyah Airways said on its website that it operates an Airbus fleet. It started operations with five leased planes and signed a contract with Airbus at an exhibition in Paris in 2007 for the purchase of 11 new planes, the website said.
It was founded in April 2001 and at first fully owned by the Libyan state. The company’s capital was later divided into shares to be managed by the Libya-Africa Investment Portfolio.
Last June, a 12-year-old girl was the sole survivor of a Yemeni plane crash off the Comoros.