Tripoli air crash kills 103

12th May 2010
Tripoli air crash kills 103

An aircraft operated by Afriqiyah Airways has crashed in Libya, with the loss of more than 100 lives.

The Airbus 330 came down while on approach to Tripoli Airport at 06:10 local time.

Flight 8U771 was en route from Johannesburg when it crashed, with reports suggesting it was just metres from the runway.

Afriqiyah confirmed 93 passengers and 11 crew were onboard at the time of the incident.

A statement on the airline’s website read: “We extend our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims.

“The search and rescue mission has now been completed.”

National Loss

Libyan transport minister Mohamed Zidan stated from the crash site a Dutch boy was the sole survivor of the accident.

Dutch tourist association ANWB said 61 Dutch citizens were on board the flight, with Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende confirming “several dozen” Dutch nationals were killed.


Mr Ali Zidan later confirmed victims included nationals from Germany, Finland, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, South Africa and France were also killed in the incident.

All 11 crew are reported to by Libyan.

In South Africa president Jacob Zuma offered his condolences to families of the victims.

Addressing parliament in Cape Town, he said “Our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.”

The Foreign Office is has confirmed reports one British national was killed.

Seven passengers on the flight had been due to connect with a flight to London Gatwick Airport, with 32 heading to Brussels, 42 to Dusseldorf in Germany, and one to Charles de Gaulle in Paris. 

Afriqiya Airways

While the cause of the crash has yet to be established, Libya was quick to dismiss rumours of terrorist involvement.

“We have definitely ruled out the theory that the crash was the result of an act of terrorism,” Zidan said.

A black box flight recorder has been recovered from the scene, with investigators now attempting to piece together what caused the crash.

Daniel Hoeltgen, a spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency, said Afriqiyah had undergone ten recent safety inspections at European airports, with no significant safety findings.

According to the aircraft manufacturer the plane came off the production line in 2009, and had since accrued 1,600 flight hours in some 420 flights.

A team from Airbus, based in France, is on the way to the crash site to begin an investigation.

Afriqiyah Airways is a low-cost Libyan airline which was only founded nine years ago and operates a relatively new fleet of Airbus aircraft.

It is a full member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The crash is the deadliest air accident in Libya since December, 1992, when a Libyan Arab Airlines plane crashed near Tripoli airport killing 157 people.


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