"It must be accepted as a princ"
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|The Ministry of Defence has also revealed that one of the Hercules suffered minor damage, after coming under small-arms fire.|
A spokesman said: "We can confirm that during the operation to recover civilians from the Libyan desert, one of our C130 aircraft appears to have suffered minor damage consistent with small arms fire.
"There were no injuries to passengers or crew and the aircraft returned safely to Malta."
A Falklands veteran, who was working on a clean water project in Libya, has thanked the Royal Navy for his safe rescue.
61-year-old Mike Wilson was among the 207 exhausted civilians delivered to Malta on Saturday by HMS Cumberland.
The former sailor, from Stamshaw in Portsmouth, made his way from Brega in the desert south of Libya to meet the British warship in Benghazi.
He said: "I can’t speak highly enough of how we were treated and cared for in getting out of Libya.
"It was a very dangerous situation which was escalating and all of us onboard were glad to be rescued."
Mr Wilson was working on the Great Man Made River project in the town of Brega.
He said: "It’s a really important programme for the people and it’s a real shame that we have had to come out.
"But we were getting reports about looting and militias and it was best to get out of there."
Mr Wilson travelled north by car past fighting factions in Libya, and spent more than 30 hours in HMS Cumberland as she crossed rough seas to Malta.
He said: "I served in HMS Broadsword which was a frigate that was in the 1982 Falklands conflict.
"The seas in the South Atlantic are renowned for being choppy and dramatic but this was just the same as back then.
"We were in a small Junior Rates mess room and there were several people who were ill. But it was fine given the situation we were leaving and we’re very happy to be safe.
"We were in a compound of buildings back in the desert and we had looters trying to get in, armed with knives.
"It was a potentially terrifying situation and it’s sad for Libya, where I’ve been for three years."
Mr Wilson said he would be happy to reach the UK and catch up with his family. He has a wife, Anne, a daughter Katy and step-daughter Mandy and grandson George. His son David is in the Royal Navy and serves on HMS Illustrious and his other son Mark is an Army Corporal, based in Germany.