An Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 has crashed at the Tripoli International Airport while trying to land. There were 104 people on board, the lives of all but one are believed to have been lost.
The Afriqiyah Airways flight 771 arriving from Johannesburg, South Africa, after a 9 hour flight, carrying 93 passengers and 11 crew members was about to land at Tripoli at 10 minutes past 6am this morning. The plane was scheduled to continue its journey to London-Gatwick as flight 8U 912, thus a few British citizens were also aboard with other nationalities including South Africans and Europeans bound for other connecting flights. As confirmed by the Dutch authorities, there were 62 Dutch citizens on this flight! All the crew were from Lybia. Nicky Knapp, a representative of the Airports Company South Africa, provided the breakdown in the destinations of the passengers aboard: seven to London, 32 to Brussels, 42 to Dusseldorf, one to Paris, and 11 to Libya. She was speaking on behalf of Afriqiyah Airways.
First reports suggest the plane has exploded in the air before touching down (“It exploded on landing and totally disintegrated,” a Libyan security official told AFP), but these are not yet confirmed. Some burnt airplane parts are also lying on the ground, together with intact airline seats, which would indicate that we may have some survivors. Ambulances are continuously arriving at the scene. Early reports indicate there is one survivor, an 8 year old Dutch child! He is currently undergoing surgery at a local hospital with some bone injuries.
By the afternoon, 96 bodies have also been recovered from the wreckage… Some of the TV footage show a destroyed car wreckage being moved by rescue workers as well – it is unknown at this stage if there were any casualties on the ground as well.
Officials also recovered the plane’s flight data recorder, which investigators use to piece together a flight’s last minutes.
The plane was one of three Airbus A330-200’s operated by Afriqiyah Airways. Carrying the registration number 5A-ONG (pictured here above), it was handed over to Afriqiyah just 8 months ago, thus was a new a plane. The planes in the fleet carry the logo 9.9.99 – the date when the African Union was formed, and this plane was handed over to the airline exactly ten years later, on 9.9.09. Ended her short life after accumulating about 1,600 flight hours in some 420 flights in a very tragic way.