AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The 9-year-old Dutch boy who miraculously survived a plane crash in Libya returned to the Netherlands aboard an airborne ambulance Saturday and was whisked away to a hospital in his hometown, where he must begin to rebuild his life without his parents or brother.
Ruben van Assouw was the sole survivor, pulled unconscious from the wreckage of an Afriqiyah Airways jetliner that plunged into the desert less than a mile from the runway in Tripoli on Wednesday, killing 103 people.
Investigators from the U.S. and other countries were on the scene of the crash near the Libyan capital Saturday trying to determine a cause.
Ruben returned with an aunt and uncle aboard a flight to a military air base in Eindhoven, then was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in nearby Tilburg, the hometown of the Van Assouws.
Ruben underwent more than four hours of surgery to repair multiple fractures to his legs Wednesday, but doctors say he has been recovering well.
A statement by close relatives said the extended family will care for Ruben and asked the media not to contact them while they are grieving.