Royston man feared for life in Libya
PUBLISHED: 17:36 02 March 2011
A ROYSTON man has told how he feared for his life during a night of gunfire while working at a Libyan airport.
Michael Dewick was working in construction at Benina Airport in Benghazi when rebels against Colonel Gadaffi’s regime stormed the location and opened fire.
Princes Mews resident Dewick, who was working with around 3,000 other men, mainly from Thailand and the Philippines, locked himself in his camp on the night of Sunday 20 February, and heard shots fired just inches from his door.
He eventually arrived back in Royston after contacting the British Embassy who organised a ship to carry them on a 36 hour journey to Malta, where they caught a chartered flight back home.
Mr Dewick said: “Our site was raided by protesters on the Sunday night. Groups drove onto our campsite in trucks and stole and looted everything, all while firing gunshots.
“They stole everything in our offices and all of them carried guns. We had no other option but to lock ourselves in our rooms, but the walls were thin plastic and a bullet would have come through and the doors could have been kicked down.
“We stayed fully clothed in case we needed to do a runner at any time. It was completely terrifying.”
Father-of-two Mr Dewick, who first started work in Libya six months ago, said his concern began when he was on leave earlier in the month.
“We work by doing nine weeks on and three weeks off, and when I was on leave and saw the violence had broken out I rang my office to ask if we were still going,” he said.
“They said if the flights are still on then we should go. When I arrived in Benghazi though it was closed to people coming out, as rebels had taken it over.
“They rushed me through to my camp and I was able to work on Friday and Saturday before it kicked-off on Sunday.”
Mr Dewick and the eight other Brits then contacted the British Embassy, who organised for coaches to pick them up and take them to a nearby port.
It was here they boarded the HMS Cumberland and began a 36 hour journey to Malta, from where they flew back to Gatwick.
Mr Dewick has been in contact with his company, and is due to return to Benghazi as soon the trouble calms.
“I would have no problem going back there,” he said. “I spoke to them on Tuesday and am now waiting on a call about when I should return.”