A husband and wife from Norfolk have said they were lucky to escape their home in Libya amid gunfire on the streets and chaotic scenes at Tripoli airport.
Chris and Jackie Murphy landed at Gatwick airport in Sussex earlier after fleeing their bungalow in the Libyan capital.
They said vigilantes guarded their street and gunfire could be heard.
Mrs Murphy said she feared an attack by mercenaries.
The couple, who had worked in the capital for five months, have returned to Horsford, near Norwich, but hope to go back to Tripoli for their belongings and pet dog.
Mr Murphy, a chartered surveyor, said the airport was "unbelievable", with huge numbers of people sleeping inside and outside the terminal building.
"We were lucky to get out this morning," he added.
"We had to force our way through thousands of people in order to get in."
Their 150-seat plane had just 38 passengers, he said.
Mrs Murphy, a teacher at an international school in Tripoli, said: "Getting to the airport was the difficulty when we had been told that mercenaries were driving around and shooting people.
"But the streets were empty. It was very frightening, were weren't sure what were going to encounter."
She said they heard gunfire and mortars on Tuesday night.