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More Than 100 Die in Libyan Airline Crash

Published on Thursday 13th May 2010 More Than 100 Die in Libyan Airline Crash

More than 100 people died at Tripoli's international airport when a flight from Johannesburg crashed while landing early Wednesday.

The airline operating the aircraft, Afriqiyah Airways, said in a statement posted to its website that flight 8U 771 had been in an accident at 6 am on Wednesday, Tripoli time. The flight left Johannesburg on Tuesday night.

"At this moment we have no information concerning possible casualties or survivors," the airline said.

However, Agence France-Presse reported an airport official in Tripoli as saying there was only one survivor of the crash - a Dutch boy who had been rushed to hospital. The airline said 93 passengers and 11 crew members had been on board.

The South African agents of the airline told Johannesburg's The Star newspaper that many of the passengers were South Africans who had been scheduled to fly on to London. Reuters quoted a security source in Tripoli as saying there had been 22 Libyans, including passengers and crew, on board.

The aircraft which crashed was an Airbus A330-200. Airbus said on its website that Afriqiyah Airways had taken delivery of its first A330-200 in August 2009.

The manufacturers, Airbus Industrie, said in a statement they would provide "full technical assistance" to those responsible for the investigation into the crash.

Afriqiyah Airways says on its website that it was founded to realize "the dream of linking African countries directly with one another, hence the name Afriqiyah which stands for African, without the need to suffer through long connecting flights from Africa to Europe and then back to Africa."

It says it began operations with five leased Airbus aircraft and signed a contract with Airbus in 2007 to buy 11 new planes.

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