Miracle boy sole survivor of plane crash that killed all other passengers

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Ruben van Assouw from the Netherlands was discovered still strapped into his seat surrounded by aircraft debris after surviving the Afriqiyah Airways crash in May 2010. At the time it made Ruben one of just 14 sole survivors of serious plane crashes.

Rescue teams found Ruben in the wreckage of the Libyan-owned Airbus A330-200 – which disintegrated on its approach to Tripoli airport in May 2010, reported the Daily Star.

He was taken to hospital where doctors operated on him for four hours.

Ruben’s legs were severely impacted by the crash and were broken in several places.

He was unable to move parts of his injured body and there were fears that his brain might have been bruised.

According to the Daily Mail his parents were pronounced dead as a result of the crash.

Reports mentioned that when he was asked where he was from he said “Holland, Holland”.

Afriqiyah Airways confirmed that two Britons and an Irish citizen were among those who had died in the crash.

Flight 771 from Johannesburg, South Africa, exploded as it came in to land at Tripoli, Libya.

A source said : “It’s an absolute miracle that he got out.

“The plane crashed next to the runway. It was around a metre away.

“The body of the plane completely disintegrated, meaning most people would have died straight away.”

According to reports the pilot warned air traffic controllers that there was a problem as he approached Tripoli.

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Officials said that at the time of the crash weather conditions and visibility were good.

They also ruled out the possibility of terrorism.

NBC News reported that close relatives issued a statement confirming that extended family would be looking after Ruben.

Tilburg mayor Ivo Opstelten said on Dutch television: “Let’s make sure he can catch his breath peacefully in the arms of relatives.”

In 2020 American writer Ann Napolitano used Ruben’s experience in her novel Dear Edward.

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