- The Afriqiyah Airways flight from Johannesburg crashing at Tripoli airport today had not fallen victim to a terrorist act, the government of Libya was quick to emphasise today. At least 104 people were killed in the crash.
The Libyan airliner was on an overnight flight from Johannesburg to London, with a scheduled stop-over in the Libyan capital Tripoli at 0610 hours local time this morning. Afriqiyah Airways flight 8U771 crashed in great speed only a few meters from the Tripoli airport runway.
The fatal crash killed all passengers except an 8-year-old Dutch boy, who is now admitted to a hospital in Tripoli with minor injuries. Among the 93 passengers on board the Airbus, the largest group were Dutch nationals, but also three South Africans. Also the crew of 11 Libyan citizens were killed in the crash.
Although authorities in Libya have yet to start investigations into the plane crash, they immediately concluded that the disaster had not been a terrorist act.
Libyan Transport Minister Mohammed Ali Zidan at a press conference in Tripoli said government already had "definitely ruled out the theory that the crash was the result of an act of terrorism." There were no indications at all pointing in that direction, the Minister emphasised.
French authorities already have agreed to assist Libya in investigating the fatal crash of the Airbus A330 plane.
Investigations will be eased by the finding of the plane's so-called "black box" at the Tripoli airport, according to reports by Libya's state-controlled news agency 'Jana' this afternoon.
According to media reports, the Libyan Airbus recently had passed thorough European inspections and security checks. The Airbus, which is almost brand new, also had standard security checks before take-off in Johannesburg yesterday evening.
The Arabic broadcaster 'al-Arabiya' today however reports that Libyan airspace authorities had received reports about technical problems from the Afriqiyah Airways crew. The Libyan airliner however says it cannot confirm these reports.
Transport Minister Zidan at the press conference also confirmed that the Dutch boy, who miraculously survived the crash, was in a Tripoli hospital. The boy's life was "not in danger," the Minister said.
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