Green Country Resident Flees Chaos In Libya

Friday, February 25th 2011, 6:17 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- As the people of Libya continue to struggle through the chaos of a government in crisis, Americans are fleeing the country.

Among them is Tulsa metro area resident Ron Mayes. He is a contract chemical engineer who had expected to work in Tripoli for the next several years.

"We were there to staff up and train them," Mayes said.

He spent the last 10 months in Libya, working on new plans for their outdated oil production system.

He found work there when he couldn't find an engineering job here, but over the last few weeks, he and his coworkers sensed a revolution was coming.

Mayes shot video of Ghadafi's walled compound in Tripoli, where he is reported to live underground with rare trips outside.

"We would hear from the locals when he's going out," Mayes said. Now, he says, the country is coming to a civil war. "The fight is between Libyans and that's all there is to it."

It wasn't until this past Monday when he realized they had to leave immediately.

"The economy shut down, nobody was bringing in food, water, there was no fuel, everything was running out," Mayes said. "The people in the camp said we have food to last through Thursday and that's it, we can't protect you, we can't feed you."

So then, like thousands of others, Mayes began the odyssey of trying to leave. He was fortunate to already have a ticket out, but it took all day just to get through the airport.

"However it comes out, there's going to be a shift in power, there's going to be someone else in charge of the government, someone else in charge of companies, and we just don't know what's going to be there. We didn't know if the company we were working for would still be there," Mayes said.

Mayes says he would go back if things stabilized because there is plenty of work and the pay is good. But he figures no matter what, stability is a long way off.