Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Libya crash boy set to return home

Ruben van Assouw, the only survivor of the Libyan plane crash

The sole survivor of the Libyan plane crash, a Dutch boy, may be flown home as soon as this weekend, doctors have said.

Nine-year-old Ruben Van Assouw was found strapped in his seat in an area of desert sand surrounded by the plane's debris.

The flight that he was on from South Africa crashed short of the runway in Tripoli on Wednesday killing 103 people including the boy's mother, father and 11-year-old brother.

Doctors think the boy could now return home as soon as this weekend, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.

"I think he's fine under the current conditions. We hope that we will be able to make preparations for his return, hopefully this weekend, but it's all subject to medical examinations and agreement of the doctors that he's fit for travel, " a spokesman said.

He is recovering well after surgery to repair multiple fractures to his legs and he has been visited in hospital by his aunt and uncle who flew to Libya from the Netherlands.

Ruben has since been contacted by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf after a doctor handed his mobile phone to the boy to let him talk to a reporter.

He told the reporter he could not remember the crash. He said: "I don't know how I got here, I don't know anything else. I just want to get going. I want to get washed, dressed and then go."

The interview has angered Dutch officials after the foreign minister had asked the media to respect the boy's privacy.

Most of those on board the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus 330-200 from Johannesburg were Dutch tourists. The Airbus 330-200 may have been attempting a missed approach in poor visibility caused by sunlit haze, safety officials and pilots familiar with the airport said.

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