Dutch crash survivor could go home this weekend

Dutch crash survivor could go home this weekend

Dutch boy 9 Year-old Ruben van Assouw is seen in his hospital bed in Tripoli's El Khadra hospital in Libya on Thursday. APRescuers found 9-year-old Ruben Van Assouw still strapped in his seat and breathing in an area of desert sand strewn with the plane's debris. He lost the rest of his family - his father, mother and older brother - in Wednesday's disaster, in which a flight from South Africa crashed short of the runway in Tripoli, killing 103 people. Dutch Foreign Ministry official Ed Kronenburg said authorities think the boy could return home this weekend.

"I think he's fine," Kronenburg said. "Under the current conditions, we hope that we will be able to make preparations for his return, hopefully this weekend, but it's all subject ... to medical examinations and agreement of the doctors that he's fit for travel."The child was recovering well after 4 1/2 hours of surgery to repair multiple fractures to his legs. His aunt and uncle rushed to Libya from the Netherlands and were visiting him in a hospital in Tripoli.

The boy, contacted by phone by a Dutch newspaper, said he could not remember the crash."I don't know how I got here, I don't know anything else," he told a reporter from De Telegraaf. "I just want to get going. I want to get washed, dressed, and then go."

The newspaper said a doctor handed his mobile phone to the boy to let him talk to its reporter. The interview angered Dutch officials since the foreign minister had asked the press to respect the boy's privacy and not contact relatives of the victims, the Dutch state broadcaster NOS reported. Most of those on board the Afriqiyah Airways flight from Johannesburg were Dutch tourists.

The Airbus 330-200 may have been attempting a go-around in poor visibility caused by sunlit haze, safety officials and pilots familiar with the airport said yesterday.

Both black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, were immediately recovered at the crash site in the capital, Tripoli. Investigators from the United States, France, South Africa, and the Netherlands are helping Libya with the probe. Dutch forensics teams will start work with Libyan officials to identify the bodies over the coming week, Kronenburg said.

They also want to return personal items to relatives of the victims, he said.Relatives of the dead will be asked to provide descriptions of what they were wearing and what personal belongings to help identify them, said lead Dutch investigator Dann Noort.

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