Monday, November 29, 1999

Sole survivor of Libya air crash leaves for home

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Tripoli, May 15 (IANS) Nine-year-old Ruben van Assouw from the Netherlands, who miraculously survived a plane crash in Libya that killed all other 103 people on board, left Tripoli for home Saturday, an official report said.Ruben left Libya after his health became stable, official Libyan news agency Jana said Saturday.The boy was flown out of the country on an ambulance jet of Libya's health ministry, accompanied by his aunt and a medical team which has been treating him at the al-Khadraa hospital in Tripoli, Xinhua reported citing the official statement.The Afriqiyah Airways' Airbus-A330, which was arriving in Tripoli from South Africa with 93 passengers and 11 crewmembers on board, crashed minutes before landing May 12.There were 59 passengers from the Netherlands, seven from South Africa, two from Britain, two from Austria, one from Germany, one from Zimbabwe, one from France, and two from Libya. The fatalities list also included an all-Libyan, 11-member crew.Ruben was earlier told that his parents were killed in the air crash.'We told Ruben exactly what had happened. He knows that his parents and brother were killed,' Ed Kronenburg, secretary general of the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs, was quoted as reading out from a statement by Ruben's family.'We and the entire family will take care of Ruben's future. We have to deal with two kinds of grief, for Ruben finds himself in a terrible situation, and we have also lost members of our family,' the statement said.The family also urged the media to respect its privacy in the coming days.The statement concluded by saying that Ruben is now 'doing fine'. 'He is sleeping a lot,' it said.

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