Evacuees: Lucky to be out, missing what they left

Passengers disembark from a ferry carrying Americans and other foreigners which arrived at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. The Maria Dolores ferry left Tripoli's As-shahab port on an eight-hour trip to Valetta. Its passengers, at least 167 U.S. citizens and 118 other foreigners, have been aboard the catamaran since Wednesday in their quest to escape Libya's escalating turmoil, but rough seas prevented the ferry from leaving.
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

With the Tripoli airport crowded beyond capacity, the embassy ferry was a godsend, reports CBS News senior correspondent Harry Smith.

Berry Diller teaches English at the American School in Libya.

"I had two flights booked, and neither one left, so they were all canceled before we even got there," Diller said. "So this ferry was a great deal for us. We were really happy the state department came through like that."

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The old, the young, the weary - each with a story - and a sentiment.

"It's difficult because, you know, you feel for the people. All they're doing is asking for a better way of life, and people are getting killed for it," said Dave Peterson, who has worked in Tripoli for the last eight months.

Lucky to be out, but already missing what they left behind.

"I'm ready to go back. I'm sure my family doesn't want to hear that," Peterson said. "I was 200 meters off the Green Square - my apartment. It was ground zero for the chaos. Sunday was pretty difficult."

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Diane Harris teaches first grade at the American school. For her, the Libyan revolution is more than history - it hits home.

"We've only been there since August, but just had fallen in love with the place and had incredible places to teach, and to live. It was just beautiful. So I hope we can go back," Harris said. "We'll know day by day what can happen. It's ripping our hearts."

Some folks were sea sick but plenty happy to be in Malta at least one step closer to getting home again. It is unclear how many Americans still need to be evacuated, but the American Embassy has contracted for another ferry to pick up more Americans and hopefully that one will get out Saturday.