Libya workers 'glad to get out'

James Munro
Image caption James Munro managed to get on the last Foreign Office chartered flight from Tripoli

Scottish workers evacuated from Libya have spoken of their relief at being rescued, amid the continuing uprising against Col Gaddafi's regime.

The UK government has chartered flights and sent military aircraft and ships to carry people from the country.

Tony Hooks, from Stirling, who escaped to Malta on a Hercules plane, said: "We're just glad to get out."

Meanwhile Jim Coyle, from Erskine in Renfrewshire, has made it to the Egyptain border in a convoy of coaches.

He had told the BBC he was trapped with about 100 other Britons in a desert camp and had described his situation as urgent.

Attempts to airlift the stranded workers at the Amal compound were reportedly thwarted when the runway was barricaded with tyres and an anti-aircraft battery.

However Mr Coyle, 57, and his fellow workers are now in the care of the British consul in Egypt and are expected to reach Cairo on Monday.

'Really chaotic'

James Munro, 45, from Elgin, found a place on the last Foreign Office-chartered flight from Tripoli on Saturday.

Speaking at Gatwick Airport, he said: "In our camp in the desert we were fine. We had communication with home, with internet communication.

"But there were other camps in the desert where they were completely cut off.

"They were getting vehicles stolen and parts of the camps set on fire."

Other workers remained stranded according to Mr Munro, who said: "When we were eventually given a place on a plane this morning we were given 10 minutes to pack our bags and there were only three seats available.

"But there are still guys out there because there isn't a plane for them.

"Tripoli Airport is filthy and there are hundreds, thousands sitting outside and inside the airport.

"Fighting broke out and it's really chaotic."

Mary Jo Gillies, from Barra and who was working as a teacher in Libya, also managed to leave Tripoli on Saturday.

Stephen Thomson, who is originally from East Kilbride, works for a drilling company in the Libyan desert and managed to get on an earlier RAF plane to Malta.

"There was just a waiting game for them to come and get us," he told BBC Radio Scotland. "There was only one flight per day.

"The night before I left, there was about 400 in the base and the plane could only take 100 people.

Image caption Tony Hooks said he had made a previous attempt to get on a flight from Libya

"It was getting really hectic. When we got on the RAF flight there were smiles all round as the plane took off."

On Sunday, External Affairs Minister Fiona Hyslop said the Scottish government was "deeply concerned" about those still stranded in Libya.

She said Foreign Office Minister Alastair Burt had agreed to hold regular discussions with the Scottish government.

"Mr Burt has welcomed the contribution made by the Scottish government and others in Scotland in our joint efforts to bring Scots home, including using our long established contacts and relationship with Scottish-based oil companies," Ms Hyslop added.

The Scottish government's Resilience Room (SGoRR) has been activated.

The unit is made operational in times of crisis to provide ongoing support should it be required.

Ms Hyslop said the government was also seeking to ensure the welfare needs of Libyan students and academics currently in Scotland were being met.

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