Algeria hostage describes 4-day ordeal

A high-resolution satellite image of the Amenas gas facility taken on Dec 7, 2012.
GeoEye Satellite Image

A freed British hostage has told Sky News that he feared he had fallen "into the hands of the terrorists" after fleeing the Algerian gas complex where he had been holed up for four days.

Alan Wright spent days hidden in a pitch-black room with colleagues at the Ain Amenas plant after hearing gunfire.

He told Sky that the militants tried to entice them out of their hiding place with a friendly voice.

"We heard the doors opening again and someone came in, and a very friendly national voice said 'good morning', but not in English, in Arabic, Arabic for good morning, and we're certain that that was the terrorists coming in and just trying to lull people into coming out."

Eventually, the 30 or so workers in the building decided to cut through a perimeter fence and make a break for it, Sky News reported.

"When you don't know what's out there, and we know that the terrorists are dressed the same as the security forces, it was a huge decision, do you stay or do you go?"

Once outside the complex, Wright said he and his colleagues headed into the unknown of the Sahara desert.

But he told Sky News he thought he'd made the "biggest mistake" of his life when the troops who intercepted them separated the expats from the local workers.

"I thought there's only one way they're separating us and it's 'cause they're going to be freed and we're going to go," he said.

"So that was a horrible, horrible thing: you've escaped, but you've escaped into the hands of the terrorists, or so we thought."

Fortunately for them Alan Wright and his group had encountered Algerian security forces who helped them reach safety.

The exact number of people who died in the four-day siege is still not clear.

Algerian bomb squads on Sunday found 25 more bodies as they scoured the gas plant, a security official said.

The state of some of the bodies is making it difficult to tell whether the dead were hostages or the attackers, the official said.

Algerian authorities said on Saturday that 23 hostages and 32 captors were known to have died but that those figures were expected to rise.