NETHERLANDS: A fellow student with Dutch boy Ruben the sole survivor of Afriqiya Airways crash talks about his injured school friendRecord ID: 382716
- Title: NETHERLANDS: A fellow student with Dutch boy Ruben the sole survivor of Afriqiya Airways crash talks about his injured school friend
- Date: 14th May 2010
- Summary: TILBURG, THE NETHERLANDS (MAY 13, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HOUSE OF RUBEN, SOLE SURVIVOR OF AFRIQIYA AIRWAYS CRASH IN LIBYA
- Reuters ID: LVA9MT1CXOWMUW3S85J0V3FPXWMK
- Location: Netherlands
- Country: Netherlands
- Duration: 00:00:21
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Story Text: The sole survivor of a Libyan plane crash that killed 103 people is a Dutch boy who was returning from a safari holiday with his family in South Africa.
The Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330-200 was flying from Johannesburg to the Libyan capital Tripoli when it crashed just short of the airport runway early on Wednesday.
There had been uncertainty since the crash about the young survivor's identity but the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Thursday (May 13) he was a boy named Ruben from the southern Dutch city of Tilburg.
Ruben's is said to be in a stable condition with leg fractures.
A woman said to be the boy's grandmother told Dutch paper Brabants Dagblad that he was travelling with his 11-year-old brother Enzo and parents Trudy and Patrick van Assouw and had been on a safari in South Africa.
The Dutch Foreign Minister confirmed on Thursday that Ruben had lost his parents and his brother in the crash.
His school, Obsyore, is just 100 metres away from Ruben's house.
One of his classmates, 10-year-old Dimmy de Hough, says Ruben is a cheerful boy who loves skate boarding. Dimmy says he used to play football with Ruben's brother Enzo who died in the crash.
But when Dimmy's mother first saw the picture of Ruben in a hospital bed in Tripoli, Dimmy said he didn't believe it was him. He said he couldn't recognise him with all the bandages.
Dimmy says Ruben was excited about going to Africa and had told the class how much he was looking forward to seeing lions.
""(Q: Are you in Ruben's class?) Yes I was. (What kind of boy is Ruben?) he is a very cheerful person who laughs all the time. Yes, he laughs all the time. He plays a lot with Lego in the classroom. He has a lot of friends. Everyone in the class likes him. He never gets into a fight and always plays outside and we always play hide and seek together. I first saw his picture on television then my mother looked at his picture on the website and she said it was Ruben. I thought it was maybe another Ruben. When I first saw the picture I thought it wasn't him. And when I heard it was a plane from South Africa I thought it must be Ruben.
"(Q: Did you know he went to Africa) Yes, he told everyone in the class. He told us he was going to a safari park where you could find all sorts of animals and that he was going to drive in the safari. (Q: what would like to say to Ruben?) I wish him well. I hope he leaves the hospital very soon (Q: What went through your mind when you heard the news ?) I felt really sad that he lost his father and his mother and I still can't believe its true (Q: do you find it all very strange?) Everything appears impossible but it's really true," said Dimmy.
The school will be organising a special meeting with the parents and children to talk about the accident and provide support for the children who have lost their friend.
The Dutch Foreign Minister said earlier in the day that the Royal Dutch Tourism Association ANWB has sent a team of medical experts to Tripoli to decide together with Libyan doctors when Ruben can be brought back home.
He said Ruben was happy to see his aunt and uncle by his bedside.
Local Dutch media have said Ruben has not been told yet about his parents and brother.
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