May 14th, 2010

Plane Crash, Tripoli, Libya

Posted at 9:09 AM ET

libyasmallAn Afriqiyah Airways plane carrying 104 passengers and crew on an international flight crashed as it attempted to land at Tripoli International Airport on May 12, killing all but one person on board. Afriqiyah Airways said Flight 8U771 was carrying 93 passengers and 11 crew. The sole survivor, a child reported to be Dutch, is being treated in a hospital. The Airbus A330-200 was flying from Johannesburg in South Africa to the Libyan capital when it crashed just short of the runway around 06:00 local time (04:00 UTC) after a nine hour flight, the airline said. Eyewitnesses said the aircraft started to break up as it came in to land in clear weather before totally disintegrating. Two flight recorders have been recovered and an investigation has been launched into the cause of the crash. Market sources quoted by Insurance Day said the aircraft had an insured value of USD123 million on a policy led by Catlin. Insurance Day added Afriqiyah Airways is thought to have a liability policy with a USD1 billion limit.

Reports said the plane was destroyed in the accident, with only the aircraft’s tail fin more or less intact. Afriqiyah Airways has released the manifest and it said 67 Dutch people were on board the flight, many returning from a package holiday, and all 11 crew members were Libyan. Afriqiyah Airways said the nationalities of the other victims included: Austrian (2), British (2), French (1), German (1), Libyan (2), South African (13) and Zimbabwean (1). Many of the passengers were booked to travel from Tripoli on to other destinations in Europe.

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According to Airbus, the aircraft was delivered from the production line in September of 2009 and had accumulated about 1,600 flight hours in some 420 flights. Reports said the plane was powered by General Electric engines. Safety officials said European authorities have carried out regular inspections of Afriqiyah aircraft, including the Airbus jet which crashed, without reporting significant problems. The accident is the second to involve an Airbus A330 in the last twelve months after Air France Flight 447 crashed in the Atlantic in June of last year. The cause of that crash has still not been identified.

Sources: CNN News, BBC News, Associated Press, Agence France Presse, Reuters News, Insurance Day

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