Elbert, Colo. man escapes terrorist attack at Algerian gas plant
ELBERT, Colo. – A Colorado man was flown out of Algeria Friday night after hiding from terrorist attacks for three days at an Algerian natural gas plant.
According to Dressage-News.com, Steven Wysocki was flown out of Algeria on a U.S. military plane to a base in Germany, after hiding at the plant where he worked as a production supervisor.
Steven and his wife Kristi own Somewhere Farms, a horse training facility in Elbert, Colo.
Wysocki sent his wife a text message early Tuesday morning after the power went out at the plant.
The text read, “It’s a terror attack. I’m OK now. Will try to call you later,” according to Dressage-News.
Kristi, who is a native of Colorado, told the website that her husband was hiding with other employees inside the plant, and they were able to send text messages to a British Petroleum manager.
Kristi said that the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “have been phenomenal, remarkable people,” according to the website.
Neighbors describe the Wysockis as great people. One woman told FOX 31 Denver’s Hendrik Sybrandy that she is thrilled Steven is safe, and she is glad he’s coming home.
“It’s hard when you got a loved one that’s over in a different country and all that stuff is happening. It’s hard when it’s family members. It’s awesome that he’s coming back,” neighbor Sandy Ybarra said.
Jerry Wichael, who goes to the same church as the Wysockis, said that Kristi asked a prayer group at Elbert Presbyterian Church to pray for her husband.
“She didn’t know what was wrong with him and where he was and hadn’t heard anything except that he was either captured, murdered or hiding out someplace. And so we just prayed,” Wichael said.
“We’re so far removed from other countries but it just goes to show that things can happen to people in small places, small communities and we’re not any of us exempt from it all,” Ybarra said.
According to CNN.com, at least 23 hostages and 32 “terrorists” were killed around the sprawling facility in eastern Algeria’s desert. Some 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreigners have been freed, those reports said. It is not clear how many people, if any, are still unaccounted for.
The saga closed after a “final” assault, which itself contributed to the deaths of seven hostages and 11 militants, according to Algerian state media reports.
At least one American, identified as Frederick Buttaccio, is among the dead, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
As of Friday, six Americans had been freed or escaped, a U.S. official said. Other Americans were unaccounted for.
Algeria’s military continued to clear mines planted by militants, the official Algerian Press Service reported, citing the country’s state-owned oil and gas company.
“While the site is still dangerous and there may be explosives that will need to be dealt with, the terrorist incident is now over,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron, citing his conversation with his Algerian counterpart.
The militant siege caught the world’s attention as it ensnared citizens from several nations and dragged on for days.
Algerian authorities said they believe the attack was revenge for allowing France to use Algerian airspace for an offensive against Islamist militants in neighboring Mali.
Whatever the rationale, the scale and gore of the terror has stirred world leaders to press for action beyond Algeria, especially with Islamic extremists asserting themselves more and more in recent weeks.
“Let me be clear: There is no justification for taking innocent life in this way,” Cameron said. “Our determination is stronger than ever to work with allies … around the world to root out and defeat this terrorist scourge and those who encourage it.”