Lone survivor shouts 'Holland, Holland'

newspic4beb8de284bc2 AFP A Dutch boy, the lone survivor of the Afriqiyah airline flight 8U771 that crashed in Tripoli, recovers at a hospital in Tripoli. Photo: Reuters

By Staff Reporters and Sapa-AP-AFP-Reuters

This child miraculously survived the crash and was found shouting "Holland, Holland".

On Wednesday night the child was in intensive care while officials searched for clues to what brought the nine-month-old Afriqiyah Airways A330-200 Airbus down at Tripoli Airport, killing 103 people.

Officials said the child, still unidentified and with its age given as eight or 10, was operated on for broken limbs, including breaks in both legs, and is under intensive care but is stable".

A Dutch news website reported that the child was travelling with its parents and 11-year-old brother.

The Airbus A330-200, which had been in service only since September, was flying from Joburg to the Libyan capital when it crashed just short of the Tripoli Airport runway at about 6am on Wednesday, 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 passengers were reported to be Dutch citizens. Twenty-two, including the crew, were reported to be Libyans. Others included citizens of Zimbabwe, Germany and the Philippines.

The Dutch were tourists on package tours.

While no official passenger list had been released, 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 Peter and Hans Wolfaardt.

They are among the 103 people who were killed instantly.

Frans Dreyer, 50

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

Dreyer said she was attending a parliamentary committee meeting in Cape Town when she received an SMSs 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."

Dreyer 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 has shocked literary and arts circles in Durban and left her family devastated.

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."

At the time of her death, O'Mara lived in Kosmos, Tshwane.

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

Catherine Tillett

Tillett, who worked for Global Aviation and lived in Joburg, was on her way to train cabin crew in Libya. Her mother Lynette, a Pinetown resident, flew to Joburg yesterday afternoon to meet relatives.

Spokesman Mike Schneider said Cathrine's sister Jenni received a call just after 7.10am.

"We immediately called the company contact person in Tripoli, who confirmed it," he said.

Schneider added that Tillett loved flying.

Global Aviation CEO Johan Kuit said Tillett was the cabin services training manager at the company and also an expert in emergency procedure training. He was told by a manager from the company in Tripoli that she was dead.

Norbert Taferner, 70, and his wife Paula

Norbert was a previous employee of Global Aviation.

"Norbert retired in February and he was flying to Libya privately. He used to be our manager in Libya," said Kuit.

The Taferners lived in Solheim, Germiston, and were on a personal visit to Tripoli.

Their son Helmut said it was too soon for the family to speak to the media.

Nigel Peter, 48

AirQuarius Aviation CEO Gavin Branson said Nigel Peters, one of their most important employees, was on the flight.

"He runs our entire maintenance division," said Branson.

He was at Peters's house yesterday evening with Nigel's wife Yvonne and their remaining son Damon.

"His wife is devastated. They had a child who died in a motorbike accident a few years ago, so it's only Yvonne and Damon left," said Branson. "Everyone is so broken by Nigel's death. This is just devastating news."

Peters was on his way to Libya to see some customers for the company.

Han Wolfaardt, 45

Branson said Peter was accompanied by Wolfaardt, who did occasional aircraft painting for AirQuarius.

Wolfaardt's daughter Lehanhe said the family had gathered when they heard the bad news.

"It has been a big shock," she said. "We heard the news through the aviation authorities because we are all involved in the industry. My dad flew to Libya for business. He was supposed to be home on Friday."

Anton Matthee

Last night, shocked neighbours gathered outside the Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch, home of Anton Matthee, husband of Ilse and father of two teenage daughters.

"Ilse spoke to him a few hours before he boarded the plane. And his work called to confirm that he was on the flight," said Stanley Roos, who lives opposite the Matthees.

Roos said Anton often travelled for work purposes and was on his way to London for business.

The family were devastated and heartbroken, said Roos.

"One minute you are watching it on the news and the next you hear that Anton was aboard. It's devastating," he said.

Robert Edward Webber, 41

According to the SABC, Webber's wife Estelle said the tragedy had not yet sunk in. "It feels like he's coming back. He was on his way to London to join the British army," she said.

sign up