The government on Wednesday defended its mission to rescue nationals stranded in Libya after the first of two planes chartered to pick up passengers from Tripoli eventually left London over nine hours late.
"We continue to do all we can to assist British nationals to leave Tripoli," Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement Wednesday.
Hague confirmed that British nationals boarded a plane which became available for charter at Tripoli airport and expected "a number of additional planes to arrive in Tripoli overnight to allow the departure of all the remaining British nationals".
The FCO came under fire earlier Wednesday after a technical fault grounded the first rescue plane at Gatwick Airport while other nations successfully sent military planes to bring back their nationals.
"They don't reply to emails, they have cut off the phones to Tripoli. We told them the situation three days ago - they never even replied to us."
Coyle said they only had enough food and water for a day. They were a mixture of Britons, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Germans, Austrians and Romanians.
Hague promised to investigate the government's response.
"I will establish a review...into the FCO?s longstanding arrangements for aircraft evacuations," the foreign minister said.
"We need to know whether today was a coincidental series of unavoidable setbacks, or a systemic flaw."
Britain said it would send as many evacuation flights as necessary, possibly including military planes, as it vowed to help hunt those responsible for violence against protesters.
"We will send as many planes as necessary to bring home British nationals," Hague said earlier in a televised statement.
He added it was preferable for them to leave on commercial or charter flights "rather than to send in military flights without permission, which is obviously riskier for the safety of all those involved, although we don't by any means rule out doing that".
Charter airline Astraeus said a plane hired by private firms -- believed to be the major oil companies working in Libya -- had left London Gatwick Airport for Tripoli on Wednesday.
It had on board an FCO rapid deployment team, who were switched from the chartered plane which remained grounded at Gatwick Airport.
Hague said the government was doing all it could to help a further 170 British nationals, mainly oil workers, stranded in camps in the Libyan desert.
Some camps had suffered violence and looting while supplies of food and water had been "severely disrupted" by the unrest.
British energy giant BP said Wednesday it had evacuated all family members of staff from restive Libya, while the rest of its employees in the country would leave the country soon.
Hague said meanwhile that Britain and its allies would do everything possible to bring to justice those responsible for committing rights abuses in Libya during the unrest.
"We believe that those who commit or sanction crimes or human rights abuses in Libya should be held to account. That is our clear message and warning to them in the future," he said.
"To those in Libya who may be guilty of such acts, that Britain and our partners around the world will be doing everything to hold them to account in future. This will be a major focus of Britain?s diplomacy in the coming days."
Source: AFP European Edition