Ruben van Assouw, Sole Plane Crash Survivor, Learns of Parents' Death and Heads Home to the Netherlands

Ruben van Assouw, the sole plane crash survivor, heads home to the Netherlands.

May 14, 2010— -- Relatives of the 9-year-old boy who was the sole survivor of a plane crash earlier this week in Libya told him today that the rest of his family perished in the crash.

His aunt and uncle broke the devastating news to Ruben van Assouw on Friday morning, according to the Associated Press. His relatives are expected to take him home to the Netherlands Saturday morning.

Ruben has been recovering at Tripoli's El Khadra hospital since Wednesday's crash, which killed all the other 103 passengers aboard the Airbus 330-200 from Johannesburg.

Among those believed to be killed in the Afriqiyah Airways crash were the boy's father, Patrick, mother Trudy and 11-year-old brother Enzo. Ruben van Assouw was found by rescuers still strapped in his seat and breathing in an area of desert sand strewn with the plane's debris.

"Considering the circumstances, Ruben is doing well. He sleeps a lot. Now and then he is awake and ... is clear," his aunt and uncle Trudy and Patrick van Assouw said in the statement. "This morning, we told Ruben exactly what has happened. He knows both his parents and brother are deceased. Now with the whole family we will take care of Ruben's future."

"We have two kinds of sorrow to deal with, because Ruben is in a very bad situation but we have also lost family members," they added. "The next period will be a rough period for us."

Before learning of the death of his parents and brother, Ruben told a reporter with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf in a telephone interview that he just wants to go home.

"I don't know how I got here. ... I just want to get going," he said. "I want to get washed, dressed and then go."

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The boy's aunt and uncle have flown in from the Netherlands to be at his side as he recovers from four and half hours of surgery, repairing multiple leg fractures. Officials have said the boy is still unaware that his parents and brother died in the flight from South Africa. Forensic investigations to confirm the identity of all who perished have just begun.

The Dutch transportation authority ANWB said Ruben will arrive in the Dutch city of Eindhoven -- about halfway between Amsterdam and Brussels -- at 1 p.m. Saturday local time (7 a.m. in New York). His surviving family has asked the government to shield the boy from the public and authorities have selected a military base rather than a commercial airport for his arrival to help facilitate that request.

The van Assouw family had gone to South Africa during the boys' spring school vacation to celebrate the parents' 12 1/2-year wedding anniversary, a Dutch tradition.

Last Blog of Father of Libya Plane Crash Survivor

In her travel blog, Trudy van Assouw wrote about the camping trip that took them through some of the world's most spectacular natural wonders: South Africa's Mac Falls, the Kruger National Park game reserve and across the border into Swaziland and on to Lesotho.

The last post Monday showed the flat tire the family got while driving through the Sani Pass in South Africa.

On the trip down, Ruben "got sick and had to throw up" his mom wrote.

Since the crash, the blog has become a bit of a memorial to the family with hundreds of comments posted by strangers sending their condolences.

"So sorry for such a tragic family loss after a such wonderful Holiday," one read.

"I hope you can find peace, strength and understanding with your great loss," another, from Jerry, read. "It was a miracle That You survived. Your life was spared for a reason. All the best from Canada!"

Many of them spoke directly to the boy.

"So many of us have heavy hearts from your immense loss and lifted spirits given your remarkable survival," Peter wrote.

Some talked about how his family will never be "completely gone" and how their "unconditional love" will endure.

Many people said they are praying for Ruben's recovery and his future.

"I don't know what words I could possibly say that would comfort you in this time of sorrow other than to let you know that I will be praying for you," Carol of Louisiana wrote. "I am very sorry for your loss."

And then there were tales from other people who said they also suffered a great loss.

"When I was 5 years old, I experienced a loss so great I never thought or imagined life beyond it," Brenda Vilakazi of Johannesburg wrote. "Now I am 35 years old, married with three beautiful children.

"Treasure your trip with your family. Keep the good memories alive. Happiness is all around you always. You don't need to look deep to experience it. Be at peace with all and all will be at peace with you."

Ruben van Assouw Heads Home to the Netherlands

Ruben was scheduled to return home after doctors operated on him and he stabilized.

"The situation is stable," orthopedic specialist Sadig Bendala told the Associated Press. "He's OK. He's not getting any worse. He's progressing quite well."

The doctor said many factors could have played a role in his survival, including where he was seated in the plane.

"It's something from God, that he wanted him to live longer," Bendala said.

Meanwhile, Dutch forensics teams will start work with Libyan officials to identify the bodies, a task that could take at least a week, depending on the condition of the bodies, Ed Kronenburg, a senior official with the Dutch Foreign Ministry, told the Associated Press.

The flight-data recorder and the cockpit-voice recorder -– the so-called black boxes -– were both immediately recovered from the crash site. Libya is being assisted with investigators from the Netherlands, South Africa, France and the United States' National Transportation Safety Board.

Kronenburg expressed some concern about the initial security of the crash site.

"We had the impression," he said, "that anyone could have walked over the site."

ABC News' Christine Brouwer contributed to this story.