An Airbus A330-200 operated by Afriqiyah Airways has crashed on landing in Tripoli, Libya, this morning, at the end of a flight from Johannesburg, South Africa. Television, citing official sources, reports say 104 passengers and crew were killed.
Airbus this morning in a statement confirmed the crash. “Airbus regrets to confirm that an Airbus A330-200 operated by Afriqiyah Airways was involved in an accident in Tripoli, Libya early today, Wednesday 12th May. The aircraft was arriving from Johannesburg, South Africa.
“In line with ICAO Annex 13 international convention, Airbus will provide full technical assistance to the Authorities responsible for the investigation into the accident through the Bureau d’Enquete et d’Analyse (BEA),” the statement says. “The concerns and sympathy of the Airbus employees go to the families, friends and loved ones affected by the accident of Afriqiyah Airways aircraft.”
The Associated Press adds Libyan state television showed footage of a large field scattered with small and large pieces of plane debris and dozens of police and rescue workers with surgical masks and gloves, some of them carrying at least one body away. Others sifted through the wreckage — some of it still smoldering — including a flight recorder and green seats with television screens on them. A large piece of the plane’s tail bearing the Afriqiyah brightly colored logo on it was visible, and other parts of the plane were in shreds. There was also a burnt, smashed car.
The Airbus A330 arriving from Johannesburg, South Africa was coming in to land when it crashed at around 6am. There was no immediate word on survivors or the cause, according to a statement by the airline posted on its website. “Afriqiyah Airways announces that our flight 771 had an accident during landing at Tripoli International airport,” the statement said. “At this moment, we have no information concerning possible casualties or survivors. Our information is that there were 93 passengers and 11 crew aboard. Authorities are conducting the search and rescue mission.
According to initial reports, the plane crashed as it neared the threshold of Tripoli International’s main east-west runway, while preparing to touch down from the east. Weather conditions over Tripoli’s international airport were good today, with three-mile (4.8-kilometer) visibility, scattered clouds at 10,000 feet and winds of only three miles per hour, The AP added.
In Johannesburg, Afriqiyah’s office said it was still trying to provide a breakdown of the nationality of passengers. It said the flight 771 left Johannesburg at 1am today.
Afriqiyah Airways operate an all Airbus fleet. It started its operations with five leased planes and then signed a contract with the Airbus Company during the Paris Flight Exhibition in 2007 for the purchase of 11 new planes including five Airbus A-320 and six A-350 models in addition to the right to purchase four further types of the same plane. It was founded in April 2001 and is fully owned by the Libyan government.