An oil worker was back home with his family this week after surviving a deadly encounter with terrorists in the Algerian desert.
Mark Grant (29), from Grangemouth, was one of the employees taken hostage by Islamist militants at the In Amenas gas plant last week.
Wife Emma and the couple’s young daughter were at home, waiting anxiously for word Mark was safe and well.
It is not known if the project services contracts administrator, a contract worker for BP, was set free by his captors, rescued by Algerian forces, or managed to escape.
What is certain is the experience has been traumatic for the young dad, who was caught up in a horrible situation where he may have witnessed a number of his colleagues ruthlessly slaughtered by terrorists.
The Falkirk Herald spoke to him at his home yesterday (Wednesday) and, still visibly shaken, he said he did not want to talk about his ordeal at this time.
Upon his return from Algeria, Mark left a simple statement on his Facebook page thanking everyone for their support, but also showing how much his former colleagues were still on his mind.
He said: “Thank you for the overwhelming show of support during the last few days. My heart goes out to all the families of my friends from In Amenas that were less fortunate.
“Gone but not forgotten.”
Parents Jimmy and Anne Grant, from Falkirk, said they were overjoyed their son was safe, but could understand why he did not want to talk about last week’s events. They said he was thinking about the colleagues who did not make it back home.
Jimmy and Anne took the time to drop into The Falkirk Herald on Tuesday afternoon to confirm Mark was back home safe and well.
Mrs Grant said: “We would like to thank everyone for their love and support and their prayers for the safe return of our son Mark.
“We thank God he is safe at home, reunited with his family. Our thoughts go out to other loved ones who did not come home.”
The Algerian crisis began last Wednesday morning when heavily-armed militants, reportedly led by jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar, launched a dawn raid, attacking two buses carrying In Amenas workers, killing two.
They then moved on to the gas facility’s living quarters and main installation, seizing hostages, including Britons, Americans, Norwegians and Japanese workers - but some managed to escape at this point.
Last Thursday Algerian forces attacked after the militants tried to move their hostages in vehicles - the majority of which were destroyed in an airstrike, killing an as yet unknown number of terrorists and hostages.
The following day saw stalemate as Algerian forces surrounded the gas plant where the remaining hostages were being held, then on Saturday the Algerian army launched a final assault after reports hostage-takers were killing their captives.
According to Algerian authorities the death toll stands at 32 hostage-takers and at least 23 captives. Those figures are likely to rise as more information comes in.