The 9-year-old sole survivor of a Libyan plane crash does not understand that he’s been in an accident and still doesn’t know that his family is dead, according to a Dutch newspaper.
De Telegraaf interviewed Ruben van Assouw on Thursday from his hospital bed. The boy is suffering from multiple leg fractures and surgeries to repair the damage. According to the paper, they managed to reach one of his physicians on his cellphone. The doctor then handed the phone over to the boy.
The article said he grew “emotional” upon hearing his own language. It also said that he doesn’t understand what’s happened to him. No one appears to have told him that his family has been killed in the crash.
“I am lying in a hospital. There are men and women. I do not know how I’ve come here, I know nothing,” De Telegraaf reported Van Assouw saying in Dutch. “I just want to go. I want to wash, dress and then go home.”
Publication of the interview drew an angry rebuke from the Dutch Foreign Ministry, which instructed the Libyan hospital to better protect the boy’s privacy.
Dutch media are also reporting that van Assouw will return to his homeland on Saturday. Preparations have been made for him to fly via air ambulance onto an air base in Eindhoven.
One-hundred and three passengers and crew were killed in the crash on Wednesday. Van Assouw’s father, mother and 11-year-old brother are believed to be among the dead.
Van Assouw was found nearly a kilometer from the wreckage of the plane, still strapped into his seat.
Since the crash, readers have been poring over a travel blog set up by Ruben’s father, Patrick van Assouw. Patrick and Trudy van Assouw took their sons, Ruben and Enzo, on an African safari to celebrate the couple’s 12-and-a-half-year anniversary, a Dutch tradition.
Family pictures and messages from sympathizers now dot the site.