Oil workers rescued by an audacious British military mission to the Libyan desert have been speaking about their experience.
The Royal Air Force flew three Hercules transport planes from Malta to the remote eastern desert on a second rescue mission without Libyan authorisation.
Elite special forces troops were on board. The Ministry of Defence said one of the planes was hit by small arms fire. Twenty Britons were among the 150 people rescued.
Australian oil worker Brian Walker said: ‘We started walking out Monday night. It hasn’t been a good week. In the back of a dump truck for a couple of days. A thousand kilometres in a bus to get back to where we started from. Then the RAF got us out. It was great.”
British authorities had become concerned about the workers who said food and water were running out.
Malta has set up a coordination centre at the foreign ministry in the capital Valletta.
A member of staff there said: ‘We’re receiving a number of calls from people located in the desert. We keep them informed of flights that are going to pick them up from the facilities. Most of them are supervisors so until they have all their staff safe they will not move.’
More than 100,000 people have fled the unrest in Libya according to United Nations estimates. Eight thousand of them went to Malta with the majority arriving by sea.