POMPTON LAKES, N.J. (WCBS 880/CBS 2) – The days of unrest in Libya is forcing Americans to flee. Two Pennsylvnia natives have arrived back home to the U.S., and are now staying with friends in New Jersey, after narrowly escaping the tension.
“Welcome Franz and Erica” signs hang in the window as WCBS 880 Reporter Sean Adams pulled up to home where the Fearleys are staying.
Franz Fearley worked for a developer building a resort on the Mediterranean, near Tripoli. The couple had been living in Libya for a year, and from their protected compound they could hear gunshots.
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams spoke with the couple after they safely reunited with family in NJ
“The protesters, they’d be going out and getting pretty loud. Then you’d hear these gunshots,” he said.
Communication to the outside world became more difficult, since the phones were out and the Internet was spotty. However, Franz said he was able to Skype chat with his mom, who managed to book two tickets to Rome.
“Things are a little heated,” Franz told his mom,”so, if you could…book us a ticket? Anywhere? To get us out!”
During the tense drive to the airport, the couple passed a burnt truck and was stopped by security forces.
“They banged on the door. I just pulled over,” Franz said.
They were allowed to proceed and when they got to the airport, they became part of the crush of people trying to leave.
“There were a lot of tears and people were leaving very quickly, people were running to the airport without a ticket, with just a backpack, leaving all of their belongings behind, pets behind,” Erica told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
Once on the flight, she said, everyone fell asleep.
While they were relieved to get out safely, the Fearleys say their hearts go out to the Libyan friends they left behind.
“They were just like us, you know? They have their families, they have the same wants, concerns that we do, and it’s just sad,” Franz told Sloan.