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Bosnian children adjust to UK life

CHILDREN airlifted from Bosnia were getting used to a new life in Britain yesterday.

The 21 youngsters - many of whom were hiding in the mountains after their parents were killed - were airlifted to safety on an aircraft from which the seats had been removed to make room for more passengers.

As the Cessna Caravan from Split landed at Gatwick airport on Thursday night, the children tipped it up by running to the back, causing an emergency alert.

Stuart Douglas, who watched the 5 to 17-year-old children's arrival, said: 'It was a very emotional scene as the children laughed and hugged each other.'

Elizabeth Cooper, co-ordinator of the Sarajevo Child Lifeline, which organised the airlift, said: 'Some people have criticised us for taking all the seats out of the plane to bring them over but it was the difference between bringing 10 or 21 children.'

She said the flight was the last until the charity - which has rescued 85 children from Bosnia - raises more money.

Mrs Cooper said: 'They were picked up in helicopters piloted by volunteers who have been dropping food to the villagers.'

The children arrived at Gatwick minutes after a charter flight - paid for by an unnamed benefactor - carrying 28 seriously injured Bosnian soldiers.

The children were taken to Elgin in Scotland, before they are resettled with families.

In tomorrow's Independent on Sunday: Children's uncertain fate.