The last scheduled evacuation flight out of Kuwait ended with glimmers of hope and pride from the passengers.
A diabetic was the first off the U.S.-chartered jet Sunday. She walked slowly and clutched an American flag."She was in pain but she insisted on walking off. You could see she had a lot of pride," said Joe Myers, director of North Carolina's Division of Emergency Management. "These people seemed very relieved to be here. You could see it on their faces."
Evacuee Khalid Abdu, 28, a U.S. citizen for only four months, said it wasn't too late for negotiation and a peaceful solution to the Persian Gulf crisis, but he wasn't optimistic.
"From my own point of view, it will get worse. The Iraqis will not back up from Kuwait," said Abdu, who was born in what is now the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.
The World Airways DC-10 carried 41 Americans, 43 Jordanians, seven Palestinians, four Iraqis and two Kuwaitees from Baghdad to Raleigh-Durham Airport. Twenty-nine passengers got off in London.
Abdu, the only evacuee to speak to reporters, graduated from the University of Wisconsin and worked in a heavy-equipment business with his father, who stayed in Kuwait. He also left behind his mother, two sisters and brother.
"The Iraqis are responsible for what has happened to Kuwait. The U.S. is responsible for what will happen in Kuwait," Abdu said.
He said he will stay in North Carolina and find work as a taxi driver.
The diabetic woman, who was not identified by officials, was taken to Raleigh's Rex Hospital, where she was held overnight and reported in satisfactory condition.
The passengers were in better health than those who arrived at Raleigh-Durham on a similar flight last week, officials said. Sixty people were treated Thursday for dehydration and dysentery after their arrival.
Like other evacuation flights, the refugees traveled overland from Kuwait to Baghdad, where they boarded a chartered jet.