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Mass Korean exodus from Libya goes into full gear

Posted February. 26, 2011 10:24,   


Nearly 200 Korean nationals were evacuated from Libya Friday on a chartered plane of EgyptAir.

An official at the Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said a 260-seat EgyptAir chartered plane landed at Cairo International Airport three hours after departing from Tripoli International Airport.

The ministry said the number of Koreans taking the flight was smaller than expected as many chose to wait for a Korean Air flight.

The 330-seat Boeing 747 chartered plane of Korean Air got 330 Koreans on board after arriving at the Tripoli airport early Friday. The flight will return to Korea around 5:50 p.m. Saturday via Rome.

Another 330-seat EgyptAir chartered flight departed from Cairo Friday for Sirte Airport in central Libya, where some 60 Korean staff and 200 foreign nationals employed by Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction will get aboard.

A ministry official said the chartered flight was sent because Sirte’s location between Tripoli and Benghazi made it difficult to evacuate via a land route.

Seventy-six staff members of other Korean companies in Tripoli moved to Tunisia via a land route Friday. Another 41 workers of ISU Engineering & Construction arrived in Tunisia Thursday via a land route.

The Foreign Ministry said it is working to help one ISU employee without a passport who was staying at the Libyan-Tunisian border pass Tunisian immigration.

Three workers of Hanwha Engineering & Construction landed in Algeria after leaving Tripoli by air Thursday. Two days earlier, three workers of Ssangyong Engineering & Construction left for Egypt and two Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction staff for Bulgaria by air.

Koreans in eastern Libya are evacuating to Egypt via land routes. Fifty-six people working for Korean construction companies arrived in Egypt and another nine did so the following day. Some 50 other Koreans left the port of Benghazi on a Turkish ship bound for Turkey.

The Korean Foreign Ministry said 830 of 1,412 Koreans in Libya were evacuated from the North African country by dawn Saturday.

A ministry official said certain Korean workers insisted on staying at their workplaces to defend key facilities.