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Captain Ed Hollingsworth and Captain Niall Goff prepare for takeoff from Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel last night.
Captain Ed Hollingsworth and Captain Niall Goff prepare for takeoff from Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel last night.
Image: Irish Defence Forces

In photos: Irish Defence Forces fly to Libya to evacuate Irish citizens

Two Air Corps planes with nine crew have arrived in Malta to await go-ahead to evacuate about 40 Irish people from Malta, as over a dozen other governments prepare to evacuate their citizens.
Feb 23rd 2011, 8:25 AM 2,549 0

TWO IRISH DEFENCE FORCES PLANES have left Ireland for Libya to pick up a group of about 40 Irish citizens who are stranded in Libya amidst the country’s growing political unrest.

The Air Corps Learjet took off from Casement Aerodome, Baldonnel, before 9pm last night and the second flight, an Air Corps CASA aircraft, left at 10pm.

The two planes and nine crew arrived in Valletta, Malta, a few hours ahead of schedule this morning.

The Defence Forces told TheJournal.ie that they are liasing closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is organising the operation through the Irish embassy in Rome.

One of the two planes is understood to be carrying crew acting as a back-up to ensure the evacuation goes smoothly.

The Defence Forces described the current situation as “a waiting game” as the crew await the department’s go-ahead to travel to Tripoli International Airport to meet the Irish citizens and bring them home.

Evacuations

As the political unrest in Libya escalated this week, foreign oil companies operating in Libya began suspending their operations and evacuating ex-pat staff out of the country.

Other countries planning to evacuate their citizens from Libya include Turkey, the US, Britain, Germany, Russia, India, Iran and Canada, according to Reuters.

Eighty-three Chinese nationals evacuated from Libya this morning, Xinhua reports, and more are expected to be evacuated across the Egyprian border. The Chinese Embassy in Egypt is coordinating their evacuation efforts. China Daily reports that about 33,000 Chinese citizens live in Libya.

Nearby Chinese fishing vessels are expected to participate in the evacuations and chartered flights are being organised from China.

In photos: Defence Forces crew prepare for Libyan trip:

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Susan Ryan

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