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Survivor of Libyan crash returns home

05-16-2010 12:54 BJT Special Report: Air Crash at Tripoli Airport |

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The nine-year-old Dutch boy who emerged as the sole survivor of a plane crash in Libya has returned to the Netherlands. The Tripoli crash killed 103 people on Wednesday, including the young boy's parents and his 11-year-old brother.

Ruben van Assouw was pulled unconscious but alive from the wreckage of the crash.

On Saturday, he touched down at a military airport in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Access to the airport was tightly restricted because of privacy requests by the boy's relatives.

He was whisked away in an ambulance with darkened windows.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry confirmed the boy's arrival and said it will not comment further on his future plans.

At a community center in Ruben's hometown of Tilburg, residents have been paying their respects to the van Assouw family by signing a book of condolence.

Tilburg resident Dorine De Graaf said, "Ruben is a boy from our neighborhood, we live in the same apartment complex. I came to pay my condolences to the family."

Tilburg resident Dennis said, "Emotionally, it must be very difficult for families who have lost someone to continue living normally. I have had a similar experience in my life and I know how difficult it is going to be for these people."

The cause of the crash is not yet clear.

The Afriqiyah Airways flight from Johannesburg, South Africa hit the ground short of the runway while landing in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

Both black boxes and the flight data recorder were immediately recovered at the crash site and sent to Paris for examination.


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