Articles News interview series – I Maryam

Maybe I had the wrong day

Five years ago today, an airplane crashed in Tripoli, Libya. Marieke Poelmann lost both of her parents and wrote a book about it. For she interviews others who suffered the same fate. This week: Maryam Massarrat, who heard during her vacation that her father was on board of the crashed plane.


Today, it’s May 12th. Exactly five years after the Tripoli airplane crash where 103 people died. Among them there were seventy Dutch passengers, who were returning from their vacation in South Africa. One of them was the father of Maryam Massarrat (35). We met in Amsterdam to talk about the first moments after hearing about the crash.

One of the first things people always ask me, is how I heard about the accident five years ago. What happened on that day for you? 

“On May 12th 2010 I was on vacation with my sister in Iran, we were visiting my grandmother. I was supposed to stay at my uncle’s place that night and arrived at 11 pm. I never got past their garden. My family was waiting for me outside. ‘Why aren’t we going in?’, I asked them. They stopped me. I remember thinking: this isn’t a really warm welcome. ‘We have to tell you something’, my uncle said. ‘Something bad happened.’ I asked him if it was my mother, or my sister. ‘Is it dad?’, I finally asked. ‘Did his plane crash?’.

I knew my father was supposed to come home that day from his vacation in South Africa. When my uncle said yes I got dizzy. I felt this silence in my head, everything went past me. I clung onto the first thing I saw, a parked car covered in dust. I had to hold on to something. We returned to my grandmother and sister immediately. My family had booked us a flight home to The Netherlands that same night. They told me the news at the latest possible moment, just in time to catch the plane.”

Read full text (in Dutch) here