Britain investigating reports of nationals on Libyan flight

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Britain is "urgently" investigating reports that Britons were on board a Libyan plane which disintegrated on landing in Tripoli Wednesday, killing 103 people, a Foreign Office spokesman said.

"We have seen reports that there may be British nationals on board but we haven't had any confirmation of that," the spokesman said.

"We have got a consular team at the airport who are urgently seeking information."

Many passengers on the plane, which came from South Africa, had been due to transfer in Tripoli onto a flight to Britain's Gatwick airport, and officials there said they had set up a reception centre for relatives of the victims.

"Anyone travelling from Johannesburg to Gatwick would normally have landed in Tripoli and then taken another Afriqiyah plane to Gatwick," said an airport spokesman, referring to the airline whose plane crashed.

He added: "We are reliant on the airline to get more information but at the moment we have established a reception centre here for relatives of those on the plane."

Libyan Transport Minister Mohammed Ali Zidan would not immediately say what caused the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 to break up massively as it was landing at around 6:00 am (0400 GMT) but ruled out terrorism.

© 2010 AFP

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