2,300 Indians evacuated from Libya

New Delhi: A record number of over 2,300 Indians were evacuated from Libya since yesterday and two-third of the estimated 18,000 Indian nationals would have been pulled out of the strife-torn country by this evening, government said on Sunday.

"Three special Air India flights from Tripoli and one from Sebha (Libya), besides the Red Star One ferry (from Misurata) accomplished this task. By late evening today, more than 2/3rd of our nationals would have been pulled out of Libya, totalling over 12,000," External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The second Boeing 747 sortie brought home another 400 passengers from Sebha (Libya) to Mumbai. Daily sorties have been scheduled to evacuate all the remaining persons from Sebha over the next few days.

According to the ministry, Fly Dubai airline will undertake further daily sorties to clear the remaining 360 passengers from Dzerba (Tunisia). 580 persons have already returned to India from Tunis in the last couple of days.

"In the second round, MV Scotia Prince picked up all the remaining 972 of our nationals from Benghazi (Libya) and is headed back to Alexandria, where it is expected to reach in the afternoon of March 7. The passengers will be flown back to India on four special flights (one of them IL-76) on March 8 and 9," the ministry said.

MV Red Star One commenced its return journey to Malta from Misurata (Libya) at 1730 hrs (LT) yesterday, with all the 301 Indians desirous of leaving Libya and 29 foreign nationals on board, including six from Bangladesh.

"The vessel is expected in Malta by 0800 hrs today (local time). The evacuees will be flown back to India on a special Jet Air and Kingfisher flights," the ministry said.