Young survivor flown to London for treatment

THE three-year-old boy who was the sole survivor of an air crash that killed 115 people was flown to Britain yesterday for surgery.

Mohammed el-Fateh Osman was the only passenger left alive when a Sudan Airways Boeing 737 en route from Port Sudan to the capital, Khartoum, hit a hillside soon after take-off on Tuesday. All 11 crew and 104 passengers were killed.

The boy was found by a nomad in a bush among the debris. He lost his right leg in the crash.

He was in stable condition before leaving for the airport from the Khartoum Police Hospital, where he was also treated for burns, doctors said. He kept repeating the words, "Hold me", as he was taken to the plane.

He was accompanied on the flight to London by a team of British doctors and nurses as well as his father, El-Fateh Osman, and his aunt, Mariam Abu Saba, officials said.

The boy’s mother died in the crash. His father and elder sister live in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum.

The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, hired the air ambulance, and said he would personally pay for the child’s transfer to London and treatment.

The Sudanese foreign ministry issued the child and his relatives special passports for the trip and the British Embassy granted them visas.

Experts have been examining the ill-fated airliner’s black box and other evidence in a bid to learn what caused the pre-dawn crash. Initial reports cited a technical problem.

Sudanese officials have claimed US sanctions imposed on their country led to a shortage of vital parts.