Video: Norfolk engineer who fled crisis-hit Libya would return to the country

He may have escaped a country at the brink of civil war but engineer Richard Vipond has said he would return to Libya in the future.

The 48-year-old was stuck at a building site in Misratah for almost a week as the African country plummeted further into chaos.

On Friday night, Mr Vipond managed to escape the crisis-hit country with other Europeans by boarding the Italian navy ship San Giorgio at the port in Misratah.

He then flew from Sicily on Monday afternoon and was greeted by his wife Lisa and son Daniel at London Gatwick airport at around 9pm.

Speaking last night, Mr Vipond, who lives in Magdalen, near King's Lynn, said: 'I am delighted to be back in Norfolk but the best feeling was when I got off the boat in Sicily - that's when I knew I was safe.


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'Until the recent troubles, I was really enjoying working in Libya. The people are lovely to work with, very friendly, helpful and keen to learn from my experience.'

Mr Vipond went to Libya last April to work in an advisory capacity for the Libyan government on the building of a �450m university in Misratah.

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He continued: 'I am now looking for another job and I am not too worried where it might be, whatever comes up first.

'I might go abroad for the next job and if I had to return to that region then I would only go back to Libya because I know the people, I know the area and if I knew it was 100pc safe, I would go back.'

Mr Vipond said he was told by a couple of local people in Misratah on February 14 that there was a demonstration planned but he admits he had no idea of what was to follow.

He then tried to flee the escalating violence and bloodshed last Tuesday but a fatal shooting brought a terrifying end to the bid.

He was among a group of Europeans hoping to be evacuated by an Italian military plane from the airport in Misratah when their two coaches were stopped just outside the airport.

Anti-Gaddafi guards mistakenly thought the coaches might contain supporters of the president and a Libyan who tried to appease the guards was shot and killed.

Mr Vipond continued: 'That is when it got a bit more serious for all of us and it was another twist in what turned out to be a real rollercoaster ride.

'Everyone in our camp became more anxious throughout the week after this and we all wanted to know how we were ever going to get out safely as our choices were dimishing sharply.

'The main difficulty was getting through the roadblocks and it did cross my mind a few times that we might not get out.

'The locals were concerned about who it might be in the vehicles and they always feared it was the wrong people so unless they knew for sure they weren't going to let anyone through.'

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