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Boy survived this (part 1)

South Africans killed in crash that claimed more than 100 lives

This child miraculously survived the devastating air crash in Tripoli yesterday and was found shouting "Holland, Holland" in the debris of the accident.

The boy was the only survivor on the plane, which was carrying 104 people from nine countries. He underwent urgent surgery for broken legs and a head injury.

Last night, CNN identified him as eight-year-old Ruben van Ashout, and a Dutch website reported that he was travelling with his parents and an 11-year-old sibling.

Reports said he was in intensive care but his injuries were described as "not life-threatening". They said his condition was stable.

The nine-month-old Afriqiyah Airways A330-200 Airbus went down at Tripoli Airport after taking off from OR Tambo International.

Witnesses, according to reports, said it appeared to start disintegrating before it hit the ground and exploded.

Yesterday, officials were searching for clues to determine what had caused the crash, and reports indicated that the plane's two flight data recorders had been found.

The Airbus A330-200, which had been in service since September, was flying from Joburg to the Libyan capital when it crashed just short of the Tripoli Airport runway at about 6am yesterday, the airline and planemaker said.

The aircraft is the same type as Air France flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic on June 1 last year.

At least 61 of the passengers were reported to be Dutch citizens. Twenty-two, including the crew, were reported to be Libyans. Others included citizens of Zimbabwe, Germany, the Philippines and UK.

The Dutch were tourists on package tours.

While no official passenger list had been released by late last night, The Star has established the identities of nine of the South African passengers: Norbert Taferner, his wife Paula, Cathrine Tillett, Frans Dreyer, Anton Matthee, Bridgid Bree O'Mara, Robert Edward Webber, Nigel Peters and Hans Wolfaardt.

They are among the 103 people who were killed instantly.

Unconfirmed reports said two more South Africans were killed, one of them a cousin of photographer Mark Burns.

Frans Dreyer 50

Dreyer, of Pretoria, was a successful businessman who did a lot of international travelling, said his sister, DA MP Anchen Dreyer.

"He was on his way to Libya on business," she said.

Dreyer said she was attending a parliamentary committee meeting in Cape Town when she received an SMS from her mother.

"I thought it was strange because she never phones me during working hours, but I was busy and left it. I then got an SMS from my younger brother telling me to phone him urgently. I didn't even ask him how he was. My first words to him were 'What's wrong?'

"My younger brother Thomas said 'Frans is dood'. My reaction was one of absolute disbelief. It hasn't quite sunk in yet.

"He was a lively, energetic man," she said.

Dreyer flew to Joburg yesterday afternoon to be with her family.

Her brother leaves his wife Estelle, daughter Lize-Marie and son Divan.

Bridgid Bree O'Mara

O'Mara, a Durban-born novelist, was on her way to sign a second book deal in London after winning The Citizen Book Prize for her satirical novel Home Affairs.

News of her death shocked literary and arts circles in Durban and left her family shattered.

O'Mara's sister, Aideen Pidgeon, said O'Mara's husband, Chris Leach, found out about the crash while surfing the internet.

"He is devastated... The two of them met on an aircraft.

"He was flying to Grahamstown to spend time with his father and she was flying to Durban to see our mother at the time (of their meeting)," she said.

"Nothing got her down... She was the little sister I asked my parents for 13-and-a-half years ago."

O'Mara lived in Kosmos, Tshwane, but had stayed in Berea, Durban, most of her life.

She was a former Maris Stella pupil, a ballet dancer, TV producer and air hostess.

Cont /2 . . .
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