Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flight to Rescue Britons Is Stranded ... at Gatwick

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flight to Rescue Britons Is Stranded ... at Gatwick

Article excerpt

THE Foreign Office was facing embarrassment last night as its first rescue flight for British nationals stranded in Libya was stuck on the tarmac at Gatwick with a mechanical fault.

With hundreds of Britons waiting to be flown out of Tripoli airport, the Boeing 757 had still not left after 5pm. It had been due to leave at 12.30pm.

The delay came after British nationals and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander accused the Foreign Office of taking too long to respond to the chaos that has engulfed Libya. Foreign Secretary William Hague promised to send as many rescue flights to Libya as were needed to evacuate Britons wanting to leave. Two were due to leave yesterday and a third - if necessary - early today.

At least 300 Britons are in and around the Libyan capital Tripoli, while up to 170 more - mainly oil workers - are in remote desert camps at risk of attack as violence continues.

Mr Hague said that, as well as laying charter planes, he was not ruling out the possibility of using military flights "without permission". …

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