Africa

Escape from Libya: Your stories

Hercules
Image caption RAF Hercules aircraft extracted civilians from Libya in a UK military operation

The Royal Air Force has successfully staged a second rescue mission to airlift oil workers from the Libyan desert.

One hundred and fifty civilians were flown by three Hercules aircraft out from multiple locations on Sunday.

Two RAF Hercules flew 150 oil workers, many of them British nationals, to the safety of Malta on Saturday.

BBC News website readers have been getting in touch to tell us of their experiences of leaving Libya and of trying to find out what is happening to friends and family.

Mike O'Donoghue was rescued from the desert by the RAF

Image caption Mike O'Donoghue paid tribute to UK special forces

"I was in the southern region of Libya and about a week ago, we were over-run by local criminal militia. They were coming on site with guns and knives and intimidating and threatening, and loosening off rounds.

They initially took the good vehicles, they worked their way down the list, and finally took the computers. We evacuated the site before it got any worse.

We contacted our Athens office and they had arranged… to give us protection in [another] compound which is guarded by the local militia - the good guys, not the bad militia.

We were there for about five days and then the Foreign Office made arrangements to evacuate people from that region.

They [the military] are amazing people. The best in the world. We owe them, perhaps, our lives. We don't know. But they were certainly risking theirs.

When we got onto the plane there were two locals who attacked the plane with machetes, trying to shred the tyres. The special forces told them to stop, but it was a very delicate situation because if they had shot at these people it would have created all sorts of problems.

They had the support of the local militia - "the good guys" otherwise this couldn't have happened without firefighting."

Alan Young has travelled to Benghazi to get out on HMS Cumberland

"We had a quiet three-hour journey [from Marsa el Brega], no complications on the way.

The local people looked after us very well, they put on their own internal security - there were insurgents outside - fed us, looked after us.

There were shots fired [near our camp], there were people killed on the road outside. That was about two miles away.

We expected greater help from the consul in Tripoli. The help that we've got is from families and personnel phoning the Foreign Office in London and people coming through to us that way. That's why we're here today.

We'd given our names and badge numbers [to the British Embassy] previously but everything was so slow. In the end we heard, we saw BBC World News and saw there was a ship here and the last chance to get out... so we took it that we could get out on this boat.

So the company arranged transportation for us to come out to Benghazi.

We have Canadians with us, Americans, Croats, Polish, a mixed bag. There were about 160 of us on the buses.

I've been here for many years, a good 32 years, this is the first time I've been involved in anything like this.

I think this is a way forward for the people, they've wanted it for a long time, it's happened. We've just got to sit here and watch this space now and see what comes out of it, hopefully good."

John Mudd was trapped in the desert but has made it home

Mechanical technician John Mudd, from Redcar, made several attempts to get out of his desert compound with his colleagues but was turned back because the flights were full. He arrived back at Newcastle Airport on Saturday evening, after flying to Tripoli on a plane chartered for Korean workers, then boarding a Canadian Air Force flight to Malta.

"I got laid off last April and was looking for work and this was only job at the time that was available. I felt safe and secure out there and it was a good job.

Image caption John Mudd said he and his colleagues had thought "the worst" about their fate

On the Thursday it started to kick off in Benghazi and then on Friday it was spreading more and we were seeing all the violence and destruction on the news channels.

We heard they'd burnt down the local police stations and the criminals had got out from there. The army had left our base because they were scared for their lives and they wanted to return to their families.

So we were there without any guards on the compound on Friday and Saturday night, and that's when the looters came round. They took some vehicles, they were driving round past our rooms. We were just in fear of our lives, we didn't know what was going on.

We didn't realise how safe we were until... the village elders came to speak to us [several days later]. They said 'we are your friends here, we'll make sure no harm comes to you'. That's what we'd needed from the start.

[Before that] we were just living every hour, just thinking the worst. And we were seeing the news reports... it just confirmed your fears even more. You didn't know whether it was going to be your last day there or not. It was just horrendous.

When we got to Tripoli airport we wished we'd stayed at the camp because it was just mayhem, absolute mayhem.

When we got to the plane we felt such a huge relief. It overwhelmed everyone, to get there."

Carole Blakeway's husband Tony is on a ferry setting sail for Malta

"I've heard Tony's on a ferry called the Santa Marina Express in the harbour where he is waiting to leave. It's due to leave at 2000 local time tonight for Malta.

I understand that the ferry was sent by the oil company he works for. They had to wait for four hours to get on because of a sandstorm.

A few of them had problems getting on because they don't have their passports or copies of them, but eventually they let them on. There's no british official there to help them.

When I spoke to the foreign office they said they were aware of his situation and dealing with it, but Tony's not heard from them at all.

I've no idea what happens next or how he'll get home from Malta. As long as he's on that ferry and safe, I'm not worried how long it takes to get home."

Clare Browne's husband Mike has made it to Italy

"This morning I'm feeling hugely relieved that Mike is safe and out of Libya. He boarded an Italian warship, The San Giorgio, on Friday night and has now disembarked at Catania where he was met by the consular official.

He's one of five British nationals and 40 Italians who all work on the same construction project in Misurata. Their Italian boss has been incredibly brave and stayed behind to make sure that the rest of his staff are safe. Those left are mainly Filipinos and other nationalities, but not Europeans.

The Libyans in Misurata have been so supportive and protective of the foreign workers. They've been protecting them from attack and from looters and making sure they are safe. I'm sure they've gone to great lengths and done so at great person risk.

Mike's extremely grateful to the media for raising the profile of those who are still unable to get out and for applying pressure to the government. It's made a real difference.

He's not coming back to the UK until tomorrow and is being kept in Italy overnight."

Beverley Johnson's dad Phil is waiting to leave at Benghazi

"My mum spoke to dad, Phil, this morning and he said they were planning to make a break for Benghazi. It's been incredibly stressful trying to get information and to find out if he was going to be brought out of the country by the Foreign Office.

I'm incredibly relieved to hear he's getting out. Now I'm going to have to call the Foreign Office and find out what happens when he gets to Malta and when he'll be home."