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No hope left for missing Libya crash victims

Rescue workers searching for survivors from a Swiss-owned aircraft, which crashed off the coast of Libya on Thursday, say they have given up hope of finding anyone alive. Five people are still missing.

This content was published on January 15, 2000 - 16:43

Rescue workers searching for survivors from a Swiss-owned Shorts 360-300 aircraft, which crashed off the coast of Libya on Thursday, say they have given up hope of finding anyone alive. Five people are still missing.

Nineteen survivors have been plucked from the sea, and seventeen bodies recovered from the ill-fated aircraft, which is lying in about 50 metres of water.

The search is continuing for three Libyans, one Briton and one Filipino.

The plane crashed into the sea as it was flying oil workers from Tripoli to Libya's main oil town of Marsa al-Brega.

Salvage workers are preparing to recover the wreckage of the two-engine plane, which belongs to the Zurich-based firm Avisto.

"According to our information, the plane made an emergency sea landing for unknown reasons shortly before landing in Marsa al-Brega," Avisto said in a statement.

The company said that the Libyan pilot was highly experienced and had received training in Switzterland. The other people on board were from Britain, Canada, Croatia, India, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tunisia. The plane had been leased to Libya's Sirte Oil Company to transport oil workers.

An expert from the Swiss air accident investigation bureau is waiting for clearance from Tripoli before going to the accident scene. Switzerland and Libya are discussing which country will head the investigation.

The accident comes three days after a plane belonging to the Swiss regional airline, Crossair, crashed shortly after taking off from Zurich airport, killing ten people.

From staff and wire reports

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