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Dutch boy, 10, "miracle" sole survivor of Libyan crash

TRIPOLI, Libya - A 10-year-old Dutch boy lay in a hospital bed, head bandaged and legs shattered, the lone "miracle" survivor of a plane crash yesterday that killed 103 people in the Libyan capital. Most of the victims were Dutch tourists returning from vacation in South Africa.

Little was known about the dark-haired boy, who underwent surgery in a Tripoli hospital for multiple fractures in both legs. The barely conscious child muttered "Holland! Holland!" after he was found, a Dutch official said.

The boy appeared groggy as he was tended to by a doctor in green scrubs and a veiled, gloved and masked nurse. A bandage of layers of white gauze and hand-lettered with the date - 5/12 - covered his head.

Doctors said later he was out of danger.

The Libyan Airbus A330-200 crashed minutes before landing after a more than seven-hour flight across the African continent from Johannesburg. Little remained of the Afriqiyah Airways plane aside from its tail.

Sixty-one victims were Dutch, many of them families headed home after spending spring break in South Africa, according to the Royal Dutch Tourism Board.

Officials had no immediate explanation for the boy's survival. The head of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, called it "truly a miracle."

Flags were lowered yesterday throughout the Netherlands and campaigning for parliamentary elections was suspended to mourn the dead.

Prayers were also offered in South Africa.

"We thank God for the sole survivor. In his survival, we see that even in this dark cloud of death, there is this ray of hope," said the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba.

Libya's transport minister, Mohammad Zaidan, said the plane's two black boxes had been found and turned over to analysts.

He said authorities had ruled out a terrorist attack.

Flight 771 was carrying 93 passengers and 11 crew, Afriqiyah Airways said.

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