By John Hayes Fisher
Last updated 2011-02-17
After four days, the French rescue team reached an oasis at Lebgar, 15 miles from the aircraft and the survivors. This was as far as they could get with their 4-wheeled drive vehicles. The French radioed their colleagues at the aircraft telling them that the survivors would have to walk to the oasis. This was done at night time to avoid the searing heat during the day, when temperatures would reach 50 degrees Centigrade. Caught in a sand storm, many of the survivors thought they would never reach their destination.
While Captain Langley stopped the exhausted party, Chief Steward Len Smee went on ahead and alerted the French search team to the location of the survivors, who were then rescued. In this way he almost certainly saved their lives. The group eventually arrived at the oasis during the day of 30 May, four days after the crash.