Over 100 dead in Libyan plane crash

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Afriqiyah Airways Airbus 320 (2005)
Image: Lucien Schranz.

An Afriqiyah Airways-owned aeroplane, originating from South Africa, has crashed on approach to Tripoli International Airport in Libya at around 06:00 Eastern European time (0400 UTC). Initial reports indicated everyone on board died, which officials say is 93 passengers and 11 crew, but later developments say an eight-year-old boy was the sole survivor; however, this is unconfirmed.

The plane left Johannesburg in South Africa with the aim of transferring at Tripoli before heading to the final destination, United Kingdom's London Gatwick Airport. Officials have ruled out terrorism as a cause of the crash, which is still undetermined. A security official said the plane "exploded on landing and totally disintegrated."

In a statement, Afriqiyah Airways said, "We extend our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims[;] the search and rescue mission has now been completed."

The crew on the plane were all of Libyan nationality, officials claim, while the passengers included Libyans, South Africans, Dutch and Britons. In response to reports of British citizens being on board the crashed plane, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said, "We are urgently investigating. A consular team from the British Embassy are on their way to the airport. Consular staff in Tripoli are urgently seeking further details."

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