Ruben van Assouw – Nine year old Dutch boy is stable in hospital after becoming the sole survivor of the Libyan plane crash.
Ruben van Assouw, 9, was identified when footage of him recovering in a hospital bed in Tripoli was shown on television after the accident on Wednesday.
His grandmother, An van de Sande, told a Dutch newspaper that he had been on holiday in South Africa to celebrate his parents’ wedding anniversary with them.
The couple, Trudy and Patrick van Assouw, and their elder son Enzo, 11, died when the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 crashed just short of the runway in Tripoli on its return from Johannesburg.
Mrs van de Sande said: “We don’t understand it at all. It is as if we’re in a movie.”
There had been uncertainty about the young survivor’s identity, but the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed he was able to tell them his name and where he was from on Thursday.
“An employee from the Dutch embassy in Tripoli talked to him. He told them his name is Ruben and is 9-years-old and from Tilburg. He is doing reasonably well considering the circumstances,” a spokesman said.
He has suffered serious leg fractures in the accident, which killed all 103 of the remaining passengers and crew, but was said to be “in a stable condition”.
Ruben’s aunt and uncle travelled to Tripoli in a Dutch government plane on Thursday morning. An embassy official said he smiled for the first time when his family came into the intensive ward.
Two British citizens who were among the casualties have still not been named.
Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs also confirmed a 42-year-old woman with Irish citizenship was on the passenger list. She has been named as Bree O’Mara, an author who was en-route to Britain to sign a book deal.
Afriqiyah Airways have also reported that 70 Dutch, six South Africans, two Libyans, two Austrians, a German, Zimbabwean and French national were also among the dead.
The plane also carried 11 crew members, all with the Libyan nationality. The remaining casualties have still not had their nationalities confirmed.
The aircraft is the same type as Air France flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic on June 1 last year. The cause of that crash has not been firmly identified.