Evacuated Britons back from 'hell'
Published 24/02/2011 | 09:42
The situation in Libya was described as "hell" by passengers returning to Britain on a Government-chartered plane.
With hundreds of people trying to leave the country, the Mansouri family were forced to wait outside Tripoli airport in wet and windy conditions.
Adel Mansouri, from Nottingham, who travelled back with his wife and two children from Tripoli, where he taught in the UK International School, said: "I'm glad to be here, that's the main thing.
"But to be honest, because I've got a family, a child who's two-and-a-half years old and a five-year-old daughter, it's been absolute hell for them and also for us."
The 45-year-old, who is originally from Libya but who has spent most of his life in the UK, spoke at Gatwick Airport after getting off the first FCO plane evacuating people from Libya, via Malta.
Describing chaotic scenes in Libya, he said: "We were left outside the airport. We couldn't get inside. To be honest, I may be exaggerating here but there are almost a million people trying to get through that airport.
"Mainly they are Egyptian nationals, and I feel so sorry for these people obviously. Eventually, eventually the plane did turn up, and we're here, thank goodness."
Mr Mansouri said his family also had to endure freak weather conditions. "It was extremely extremely strange for Tripoli to experience weather like this," he said. "It was windy, it was raining non-stop. It was like monsoon rain and we were stuck outside in it."
Detailing the difficulties he had in caring for his young family, he said: "The main problem for us was trying to get the children warm and trying to get them to go to sleep. It was really difficult. It was a little bit scary, to be honest, being in that airport at that time."
Andrew Briscoe, a former Army Sergeant Major from Hereford, described the scenes at the airport in Tripoli. The 44-year-old married father-of-two said: "The atmosphere was very tense. There was mad panic. The Libyan riot police were trying to keep people away. The whole human detritus was there."