By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 3 February 2014:
A scene of absolute chaos greeted the Libyan football team when their Afriqiyah flight landed at . . .[restrict]Benina Airport this evening, as jubilant crowds flocked onto the runway preventing players from getting off the plane.
“This is complete chaos,” one observer shouted into the telephone, barely audible above the noise of sirens blaring. “The plane landed about 45 minutes ago but it was mobbed and the players can’t get off.”
Fire Brigade water canons, which had created a triumphal arch of water when the plane landed, were then turned on the ecstatic mob of fans who had flocked onto the steps of the plane and refused to leave.
While thousands gathered outside the airport, some 500 people had managed to get onto the runway, dashing past fire engines, police cars and military vehicles to reach the plane. As the people were pushed back, they started chanting “Libya, Libya” amidst a joyous riot of whistling and shouting.
Eventually, over an hour after the plane landed, the players were able to disembark, to the deafening backdrop of an insanely jubilant crowd and multiple sirens. “It’s chaotic, but at the same time very moving,” the observer said.