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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Libyan Plane Crash Leaves 100 Dead, 1 Child Survivor

Child Survives As 100 Feared Dead In Libya Plane Crash

One person -- believed to be a child -- survived a passenger plane crash in Libya that was feared to have killed more than 100 people, an official said Wednesday.

Libya's state news agency said 96 bodies had been recovered after the plane crashed at Tripoli International airport. A Dutch tourism official said 61 of 62 Dutch travelers on the plane were killed, with one survivor believed to be a child.

About 100 people are believed to have died in the crash, the president of the European Parliament has said.

The Afriqiyah Airways plane was flying in from Johannesburg, South Africa, when it crashed while attempting to land at the airport in the Libyan capital, an airline spokeswoman said.

She said she could not confirm whether there were any fatalities.

"At the moment we have no details of survivors and Afriqiyah Airways will issue further statements when more details can be released in due course," she said.

Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Parliament said: "Some 100 people have died no doubt from many countries around the world; this is a tragedy.

"I have also been informed that one 8-year-old child has survived, which given this tragic event, is truly a miracle."

The plane, an Airbus A330-200, was carrying 93 passengers and 11 crew members. It was at the tail end of its nearly 9-hour-long flight when it crashed.

A Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman said it's "possible that several Dutch citizens were on the plane."

"The prime minister said there are several indications that there were Dutch citizens on board on the plane, but we have no official confirmation on any numbers or personal data of these people. There is no confirmation about survivors either, we are trying to verify this information through our embassy in Tripoli and we will let know more details when we have them," she said.

The British Foreign Office said it was looking into whether British nationals were on board the flight.

At the crash site, workers with surgical masks combed through the smoldering wreckage that spilled over a large area. A wheel lay atop a pile of bags. Two green airline seats sat upright and intact amid burned parts of the aircraft.

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 Airbus that crashed is one of three Airbus 330-200s that the airline owns.

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Sources: CNN, Google Maps

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