| 8.7°C Dublin

Dad of two scrambled to safety with Semtex on neck

IRISH hostage Stephen McFaul crawled to safety with Semtex explosives tied around his neck.

Father-of-two Stephen, a native of west Belfast, was one of the lucky 25 to escape the Algerian hostage crisis after a botched rescue bid killed 30 people yesterday.

Stephen (36) made his bid for freedom after a convoy taking him and other hostages from the oil refinery was attacked by Algerian helicopters with missiles and rockets.

Only Stephen's vehicle escaped the attack: four other cars were destroyed and their occupants killed.

The car crashed and Stephen took the chance to crawl to safety, while wearing a Semtex necklace that the terrorists had forced him to tie around his neck.

Once he reached safety, Stephen immediately rang his wife, Angela, telling her: "I'm free, love, I'm free."

The tearful phone call at around 3pm yesterday ended hours of torment and worry for his family, who are now celebrating his survival and imminent return home.

More than 40 oil workers of various nationalities were taken hostage in the early hours of Wednesday.