Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Algeria survivor hid for two days

The In Amenas gas plant where the hostage crisis unfolded (AP/Anis Belghoul)

A survivor of the Algerian hostage crisis has spoken of how he hid for two days without food.

Tony Grisedale, 60, from Workington in Cumbria, has returned home after Algerian security forces freed him from the In Amenas gas plant.

He told ITV News he hid for two days without food and said: "If you let it get to you, the terrorists are winning."

Asked about how he managed to survive the crisis, Mr Grisedale said he was alone and in hiding for two days in a portable cabin. "I just went back to the accommodation, locked the door, battened down the shutters, knocked the lights off and kept quiet."

He continued: "I had about seven litres of water. There was no food for two days, no telecommunications, no electricity, no running water. So I just lay still and relaxed.

"I made a gameplan for what I'd do if no one came for me and listened to some music on my phone. I don't know if that was a good or a bad thing to do, as it could have attracted the bad guys. I slept most of the time really. There were RPGs and gunfire going on, so that's why I kept out of the way and didn't stick my head out."

Mr Grisedale said he was just leaving his cabin when the alarm went off at 5.45am alerting them to the terrorists. "I don't eat breakfast so I didn't need to go to the canteen. That was one of the things to my advantage. I was coming out of my door when the alarm went off so I just turned around, went back in my room and stayed there ... it just seemed the right thing to do at the time."

Describing the moment he escaped, he said: "I just picked up my bag with my passport in and left everything else. I was escorted out by what looked like their special forces. They were very cautious because they didn't know if there were any terrorists around. They got us out quickly and safely."

He added: "These things happen unfortunately, and you've just got to get on with life. If you let it get to you the terrorists are winning, aren't they? So you've just got to ... get stuck back in."

His wife Susan Grisedale said she listened to the news all the time during the siege and then described the moment she got the call from her husband. "I was so relieved. It was just brilliant to hear his voice. It was fantastic. I phoned some people and sent a lot of texts to say 'he's okay'. So lots of people were incredibly relieved as well."

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