The 303 relieved tourists arrived back at Gatwick airport after a six-hour flight aboard a specially chartered DC10 aircraft. They included many who had been trapped for five days and others who were just glad to escape, cutting short their stay.
Graham Lamb, 42, a legal worker from Norfolk, told of the robbery that took place on a coach trip. He said: 'We were stopped by armed soldiers who boarded the coach and made all the passengers put their hands up. One of them took pieces of jewellery and some cameras before getting off. It was very frightening.'
Lewis Mackay, 57, a pub Landlord from Cupar, Fife, said: 'The first we knew of any problem was when we were waiting to leave at about 11.30 on Friday morning. We were told there was going to be a minor delay of three to four hours. It was only later in the evening we learned from a rep in the hotel that there had been a coup.'
Holidaymakers praised tour companies for arranging for them to get full board at hotels, free wine with meals and a drink allowance until they were able to leave.