Worlingworth: Oil worker tells of dramatic Libyan rescue
AN oil worker has spoken of the moment his rescue aircraft came under fire as he was being flown from crisis torn Libya.
Nyck Wiseman, 50, from Worlingworth, near Framlingham, returned home early yesterday morning.
The married father-of-five, a heavy duty mechanical specialist contracted with oil company Zueitina, was flown out of Libya on Sunday.
It was part of a rescue mission by three RAF Hercules carrying members of the Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS), which swooped into remote locations in the desert and collected more than 150 people.
Mr Wiseman, who is married to Trudi, 47, was based at an oil production site just south of the Gulf of Sirte and had been in Libya for four years, spending nine to ten months at a time in the country.
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The nation’s leader Col Muammar Gaddafi is facing a massive challenge to his 41-year rule, with unrest spreading across the land.
Mr Wiseman said yesterday: “When it all kicked off [the uprisings] we were obviously a little concerned. However we were so far out of the way that it really didn’t affect us too badly.”
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Mr Wiseman was able to contact his wife via internet video phone Skype and it was through this that the rescue mission was planned.
“They [the rescuers] were asking questions through her and I was relaying the answers,” he said. “From that they formulated an evacuation plan.
“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office had been keeping in touch on a daily basis and we were all aware of what was going on.
“Until the point where we were extracted the advice was to stay put, which we did. It was probably safer than travelling.”
During the rescue mission the aircraft the evacuees were in was hit by small arms fire from an unidentified source.
Mr Wiseman continued: “The RAF and special forces had the situation completely under control. We flew to two or three other sites. As we were making our approach to the final one and just about to land – that’s when someone opened up and hit the aircraft with ammunition.
“No one on the aircraft – apart form the military personnel – actually realised. It was just a sound like something was being hit by a hammer. The crew started checking the aircraft and it was at that point they decided we weren’t going to stop.”
The group were flown to Malta and eventually arrived in London around 2.30am yesterday.
Mr Wiseman said: “It was all very fast and efficient. I’m pleased to be home.”
His relieved wife added: “I lost contact with him for three days and I was climbing the walls. However all of a sudden the internet came back and we managed to make contact. It’s lovely to have him home.”