8-Year-Old Sole Survivor in Airbus Crash Reminds Us About Miracles

airline Afriqiyah Airways
Flickr photo by dlisbona
Ruben van Assouw, an 8-year-old Dutch boy, is the sole survivor of the deadly Airbus A330-200 plane crash in Libya, according to airline officials.

Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, described the child's survival as "truly a miracle."

Isn't it nice some days, amid all the sad news about kids, to hear about a miracle?


There were 92 passengers and 11 crew members killed when the Afriqiya Airways plane, which originated in Johannesburg, South Africa, crashed while attempting a landing at the Tripoli International Airport. Young Ruben van Assouw suffered fractures in his lower limbs and underwent a surgery, but he lived!

While this story is a small miracle, this isn't the first time we've seen a sole survivor in such a deadly plane crash. Over on CNN, they give us a rundown of some of the most remembered sole survivors.

In January 1972, Vesna Vulovic, a Serbian flight attendant, is said to have survived a fall of 10,000 meters after the plane she was in exploded in midair -- although some now say it was faked. However, there have been lots of documented sole survivors who were children:

  • Bahia Bakari, a 13-year-old French national, was the only survivor in Yemenia Airways Airbus A310 crash that killed 152 people in June 2009.
  • Francesca Lewis, 13, was found alive two days after a small Cessna plane carrying four Americans crashed in a remote jungle in Panama in December 2007.
  • Mohammed el-Fateh Osman, a 2-year-old from Sudan, survived a Boeing 737 crash in Port Sudan that killed 115 people in July 2003.
  • Erika Delgado, age 9, survived an Intercontinental Airlines DC-9 crash near Bogota, Colombia, that killed 51, including her parents and younger brother, in January 1995.
  • Cecelia Cichan, age 4, made it out alive from the Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crash into a light pole, which killed 156 people on board, including her family, and two people on the ground in August 1987.
  • Juliane Koepcke, 17, survived when the Lockheed turboprop she was traveling in with her mother crashed in the Amazonian rain forest, killing 91 people in December 1971.

While there's a devastating side to Ruben's survival story, as his brother and parents presumably perished in the crash, his grandparents, who must be greatly relieved to hear their grandson is alive, are on their way to be at his side. Together, I hope they can all make it through this tragedy.

I like miracles.

What's your favorite miracle story about a kid?

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