Nick Hitch
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Algerian gas plant siege: 'I was right next to the bomb'

The survivors of January's siege of an Algerian gas plant still cannot believe they are alive. Forty of their colleagues died when Islamic militants took them hostage earlier this year. The Algerian army opened fire on the convoy of hostages and terrorists as they broke out of the plant. It is only now that some have felt able to tell their stories.

BP project general manager, Nick Hitch, was in the living quarters when he was seized by terrorists searching room by room for expat workers.

As the siege reached crisis point, Mr Hitch and his colleague JoJo Balmaceda, a BP construction worker, were among three dozen hostages loaded onto jeeps by terrorists.

The terrorists had put a bomb in every vehicle and as they drove out of the plant army helicopter gunships opened fire on the convoy of five vehicles.

Mr Hitch's vehicle hit a ridge and rolled over and the terrorist sitting next to him detonated a bomb. Out of 35 hostages who got into the cars only Mr Hitch, Mr Balmaceda and two others survived.

Find out more in This World: Terror in the Desert on Saturday 31 August at 21:15 BST on BBC Two. Or catch up later on BBC iPlayer.

  • 31 Aug 2013