Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Miracle boy survives Lybia air crash

A Libyan Afriqiyah Airways plane has crash-landed at Tripoli airport
A Libyan Afriqiyah Airways plane has crash-landed at Tripoli airport

A 10-year-old boy was the sole survivor of a Libyan airliner crash that killed more than 100 people today.

Libya's transport minister Mohammed Ali Zaidan confirmed that the Dutch boy escaped the crash of the Libyan Afriqiyah Airways Airbus with 104 people on board.

He was taken to hospital but his injuries were not thought to be serious.

The plane, flying from South Africa, crashed on landing at Tripoli's airport.

Libyan airline Afriqiyah said: "Our information is that there were 93 passengers and 11 crew aboard. The competent authorities are conducting the search and rescue mission."

The Netherlands said "dozens" of those on board were Dutch nationals.

The flight was scheduled to continue on to Gatwick airport after the stop in Tripoli.

The weather at Tripoli's international airport was good at the time of the crash, with three-mile visibility, scattered clouds at 10,000 feet and winds of only three miles per hour.

A spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency said Afriqiyah had undergone 10 recent safety inspections at European airports, with no significant safety findings. He said a team of French crash investigators was already on its way to Tripoli.

"We are currently talking to Airbus and with the French accident investigator BEA, which will be involved in the investigation," said Hoeltgen. "We will lend our support if this is required by authorities in charge."

Afriqiyah Airways is not included on the European Union's list of banned airlines. The list has nearly 300 carriers deemed by the EU not to meet international safety standards.

According to initial reports, the plane crashed as it neared the threshold of Tripoli International's main east-west runway, while preparing to touch down from the east.

The main runway at Tripoli Airport is 3,600 yards long. International airport guides show it is not equipped with an Instrument Landing System. This all-weather, precision approach system guides descending planes down to the threshold of the runway.

But it does have two other systems that many other airports use worldwide - a high frequency directional radio system that pilots use to navigate their aircraft, and a non-directional beacon that also helps guide planes into the airport.

Afriqiyah Airways operates an all Airbus fleet. It was founded in April 2001 and is fully owned by the Libyan government.

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