Authorities were hopeful that the Dutch boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash in Libya will be able to return home to the Netherlands this weekend, as investigators began work to determine the cause of the crash.

Rescuers found 9-year-old Ruben Van Assouw still strapped in his seat and breathing in an area of desert sand strewn with the plane’s debris. He lost the rest of his family — his father, mother and older brother — in Wednesday’s disaster, in which a flight from South Africa crashed short of the runway in Tripoli, killing 103 people.

Dutch Foreign Ministry official Ed Kronenburg said authorities think the boy could return home this weekend.

“I think he’s fine,” Mr. Kronenburg said. “Under the current conditions, we hope that we will be able to make preparations for his return, hopefully this weekend, but it’s all subject to medical examinations and agreement of the doctors that he’s fit for travel.”

The child was recovering well after 4 1/2 hours of surgery to repair multiple fractures to his legs. His aunt and uncle rushed to Libya from the Netherlands and were visiting him in a hospital in Tripoli.

The boy, contacted by phone by a Dutch newspaper, said he could not remember the crash.

“I don’t know how I got here, I don’t know anything else,” he told a reporter from De Telegraaf. “I just want to get going. I want to get washed, dressed, and then go.”


Plane crash in Tripoli kills over 100May 12, 2010

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