Libya oil worker rescued by passing pilot

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A British oil worker who was trapped in the desert by Libya's political strife says his return is due to a passing pilot being forced down by bad weather.

Richard Foscolo, 39, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, was stranded in an oil field nine hours' drive from Tripoli.

The father-of-three said the pilot, who had been heading for another oil field, offered to aid nearby overseas workers.

He said: "We were in the right place at the right time. He offered us a ride out. We had no idea it would happen."

The group landed at Tripoli airport on Thursday where Mr Foscolo was met by embassy staff.

Image caption,
Richard Foscolo is back home in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, with his wife and family

The oil worker arrived at Gatwick Airport at around 0330 GMT on Friday and was back home with his family shortly before midday.

He said communication networks broke down in Ghani, where he was based.

He said: "On the one hand there was a benefit of being in an isolated location and away from the troubles and the action, but then the isolation in itself brought its own threats and the danger that we could be forgotten about and that supplies could run short.

Mr Foscolo said: "Naturally I am delighted and relieved to be home with the family, though I am exhausted and feel as though we need some space.

"I'm grateful for all the help my family were given during my absence from friends, family and in particular our local MP, Alun Cairns."

Earlier this week Mr Cairns called on the UK government to help people in Mr Foscolo's position.

He said: "The family are delighted that he has arrived home safely after such a traumatic period and they are extremely grateful for all the help and support they have received from family, friends and well wishers.

"They believe that the press attention focused the minds in government to understand the plight of such workers and are relieved that, in their case, everything has ended in a happy way.

"The family naturally now need some time to overcome such a difficult experience."

Meanwhile oil worker Bryan Richards, 54, from Newport, left Tripoli courtesy of the Polish government when he was offered a seat on the presidential jet.

He arrived in Cardiff airport on Friday.

The Foreign Office estimates fewer than 500 Britons remain in Libya - including about 50 in and around Tripoli and many oil workers in remote desert areas.