SA families mourn those lost in Tripoli crash

Two South African families have confirmed that they each lost two relatives in the Afriqiyah Airways plane crash in Tripoli, Libya, on Wednesday, SABC news reported.

One of the passengers on the Airbus A330 was 50-year-old Pretoria-based businessman Frans Dreyer, who was on his way to England via Tripoli.

Dreyer is the brother of Democratic Alliance MP Anchen Dreyer, the party told reporters.

Another South African, 41-year-old Robert Edward Webber from Roodepoort, was also on the flight, the broadcaster reported.

Webber's wife Estelle said the tragedy had not yet sunk in.

"My husband went abroad, but he's travelling a lot and I'm used to him being away and I'm just expecting him to come back... But when I see on the television the plane that crashed there and I realise he must be dead.

"But its not very realistic, it feels like he's coming back. He was on his way to London to join the British army," she said.

Also on the flight from South Africa were a current and former employee of South Africa's Global Aviation and his wife. The International Relations Department could, however, not immediately confirm if the three were South Africans.

Spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota said the final count of South Africans who were on the flight had not yet been determined.

"No update yet... We can't confirm at the moment," she said shortly before 7pm.

The department was "struggling to get the passenger list" as it was with Libyan authorities, and until they had done their own checks, they didn't want to rush into saying how many South Africans were on board.

Global Aviation chief executive officer Johan Kuit identified the three passengers as cabin crew trainer Cathy Tillett and Norbert Taferner, retired manager for their Tripoli office, and his wife Paula.

"Norbert used to be with the Civil Aviation Authority and started with Global in 2005. Both are born and bred industry people, with jet A1 fuel flowing in their veins instead of blood," a sombre Kuit said.

Tillett, who had been on her way to Tripoli to do cabin crew training for another airline there, was well known and liked through the industry, he said.

The Taferners were on a personal visit to the North African capital.

DA leader Helen Zille conveyed her "heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the Tripoli air disaster" on Wednesday evening.

"We are deeply saddened by the news that DA MP Anchen Dreyer's brother, Frans, lost his life in the crash. He leaves behind his wife, Estelle, and two daughters, Lisa and Maria.

"Our thoughts are with Anchen and the Dreyer family at this difficult time. We pray they will find the strength to bear this loss," Zille said in a statement.

Agencies reported that 61 Dutch people were killed in the crash.

A small boy is believed to be only survivor. - Sapa

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