Afriqiyah airways stated on their website: We are very sorry to announce the tragic loss of Afriqiyah airways flight 8U 771 from Johannesburg in an accident during landing at Tripoli International Airport at 04:00 UTC. (06:00 am Tripoli time) today, Wednesday, May 12.
We extend our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. The search and rescue mission has now been completed and casualties have been moved to various hospitals. The secretariat of health will issue a statement on the condition of those casualties.
At this moment we cannot speculate further and will relay to you all factual information as we receive them.
Parties seeking information on passengers should contact:
From Libya: 0213341181
International: +44 203 3552737
We would like to inform the passenger’s relatives of the ill-fated Afriqiyah flight 8U 771 on May 12, 2010 that all assistance will be offered to them if they wish to travel to Tripoli – tickets, accommodation, and visa will be granted upon arrival in Tripoli. There will not be a need to have passports translated into Arabic.
The Libyan transport minister said an eight-year-old Dutch national was the sole survivor after Afriqiyah Airways’ Airbus 330-200 arriving from South Africa crashed on Wednesday morning. Up to 103 people have been killed in a plane crash at the airport in the Libyan capital.
Mohamed Ali Zidan said the boy was being treated in hospital but did not have life-threatening injuries.
“There were 104 people on board – 93 passengers and 11 crew members,” Zidan told a news conference, adding that the remains of 96 victims had already been recovered.
He said Libyans, Africans, and Europeans had been on board.
“NO TERROR ACT”
“We have definitely ruled out the theory that the crash was the result of an act of terrorism,” Zidan said.
Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways said the aircraft was coming in to land when it crashed just one meter off the runway.
Libyan state television showed footage of a large field scattered with small and large pieces of plane debris and dozens of police and rescue workers with surgical masks and gloves.
Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch prime minister, said “several dozen” Dutch citizens died in the accident.
The Dutch tourism federation said 61 Dutch nationals had been on board the plane.
Afriqiyah has posted a telephone number on its website for anyone seeking information about passengers.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Johannesburg, where the aircraft departed from, said several South Africans appeared to have been on the plane.
“The airport authority is struggling to get a call center in place but right now information is sketchy.”
Amr El-Kahky, in Al Jazeera’s Cairo office, said the weather conditions had been perfect when the aircraft tried to touch down, with little wind and good visibility.
“[The plane] did not explode. There was no fire when it came into pieces. It just came down and crashed,” he said.
He also said Afriqiyah had a new fleet of aircraft, which was said to be maintained “very well.”
Daniel Hoeltgen, a spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency, said Afriqiyah had undergone 10 recent safety inspections at European airports, with no significant safety findings.
French investigators traveled to Tripoli on Wednesday to take part in the probe of the accident, the BEA air accident investigation agency said.
European plane-maker Airbus, which built the aircraft, also said it would dispatch experts as part of the French investigating team, the French-based firm said.
“Airbus will provide full technical assistance to the authorities responsible for the investigation into the accident through the BEA,” the company said in a statement.
RECENT AIR CRASHES
April 10, 2010: Plane carrying Polish president, his wife and 94 others – including much of Poland’s political establishment – crashes in western Russia, killing all on board.
June 30, 2009: Plane belonging to Yemeni state airline crashes off Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros with 153 people on board. A 13-year-old girl survives.
June 1, 2009: Air France Airbus plane traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappears in the Atlantic with 228 people on board.
May 20, 2009: Indonesian army C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes into a village on eastern Java, killing at least 97 people.
February 12, 2009: Plane crashes into a house in Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground.