A NORTH East worker was among those freed from the Algerian hostage crisis, it emerged last night.
Peter Hunter, from County Durham, was among the workers flown home to the UK following the end of a four-day stand-off in the desert.
It was believed the 53-year-old was working as an acting construction manager at JV Gas Algeria, a post he’d held for more than two years.
David Cameron has confirmed that three British nationals were now known to have died and three more were feared dead following the seige at the BP gas plant.
The 22 other Britons who survived the crisis are now back in the UK, including Darren Matthews, from Loftus, east Cleveland, who was among a group of workers who fled the In Anemas plant on Friday.
In a statement, his family said: “We have been extremely worried about Darren and we are pleased and relieved to learn that he is safe and well. We look forward to having him home soon.
“We ask that the media respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
Another worker from Newcastle was initially feared missing but his family have confirmed he no longer works at the plant and was not involved.
The crisis began on Wednesday when militants attacked two buses carrying foreign workers to the remote site in south-eastern Algeria. A Briton and an Algerian reportedly died in the incident.
The militants then took Algerians and foreign workers hostage at the complex, which was quickly surrounded by the Algerian army. The Algerian armed forces attacked on Thursday as militants tried to move some of their captives from the facility.
Sonatrach, the Algerian state oil company running the Ain Amenas site along with BP and Norway’s Statoil, said the entire refinery had been mined.
“They had decided to succeed in the operation as planned, to blow up the gas complex and kill all the hostages,” said communications minister Mohamed Said, speaking on a state radio interview.
The US government had warned that there were credible threats of more kidnapping attempts on Westerners.
With few details emerging from the remote site in eastern Algeria, it was unclear whether anyone was rescued in the final operation, but the number of hostages killed on Saturday – seven – was how many the militants had said that morning they still had.
Algeria’s Interior Ministry said 685 Algerian and 107 foreigner workers were freed in the four-day stand-off.
It added that the attackers consisted of 32 men of various nationalities, including three Algerians and explosives experts.