Former Algerian hostage from Grangemouth celebrates new baby

Mark with wife Emma, new baby Alix and big sister Aimee
Mark with wife Emma, new baby Alix and big sister Aimee

A man who discovered his wife was pregnant just hours before being taken hostage in Algeria has spoken of his joy after the birth of his baby daughter.

Grangemouth oil worker Mark Grant endured a rocket attack and 36 hours of captivity at the hands of terrorists in January when he was working at a BP compound in the Sahara desert.

Mark’s wife Emma waited anxiously for news of his safety as the national media camped out on the family’s doorstep.

But this week the traumatic experience seemed worlds away as the couple welcomed their newborn baby, Alix, who arrived on Sunday.

Mark (29) said: “It’s pretty surreal to have her here.

“The start of the year was a nightmare, but this is the best way it could end.”

Emma (32) said she had waited on news of her husband, without telling anyone she was pregnant.

She added: “Mark was the only one who knew at that time.

“The name ‘Alix’ means defender of men. We chose it because of what happened to her daddy.”

Mark recalled the terrifying hours in January when Al-Qaeda-linked fighters seized a Sahara compound where he was working.

Mark said: “It was just before six in the morning when rockets started landing all around us, all around me.

“We saw some of the local Algerians running, and I managed to get back to my room and that’s where I was for a day-and-a-half.”

Mark recalls seeing terrorists with automatic guns, but later spotted a chance to escape.

He said: “The terrorists looked to have moved away. We could see the Algerian military, so I ran into the desert and managed to shelter beside a tank.”

He added: “I texted home straight away to say I was safe.”

Mark, now working in Shetland, was at home in Grangemouth this week with wife Emma, daughter Aimee (12) and newborn Alix.