New Delhi: A total of 557 Indians returned home in two batches by air from strife-torn Libya in the wee hours on Tuesday taking the total number of people evacuated so far by the four Air India special flights to 1,083.

The fourth Air India flight (AI-170) landed at Terminal 2 of Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here at around 4:30 am, bringing 331 passengers, an airport official said.

The third special flight with 226 Indians on board arrived in the Capital a little earlier at around 1:30 am, Minister for Civil Aviation Vayalar Ravi said.

Ravi, also the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, received the passengers of the third special flight, an Airbus 330, at Terminal 2.

The AI-800 was originally a Jeddah-Mumbai flight, but it was converted into a special ferry aircraft and diverted to Tripoli to evacuate Indians who are stranded in Libya, which is rocked by massive anti-government protests that has left around 1,000 persons dead in the North African nation.

Three more planes - two Boeing 747-400 and Airbus 330 - left this morning for Tripoli to airlift Indians who are still there.

Ravi said 1,100 people have been evacuated from Benghazi and ferried by a ship to Alexandria in Egypt. "Out of 18,000 Indians, 10,000 are stranded in Tripoli," he said. With the government intensifying the evacuation drive, nearly a third Indians in Libya would have been evacuated by Wednesday.

One of the passengers of the fourth flight Dinesh Kumar Sahni, working in Libya with a construction firm said, "Situation in Libya is not good. The condition in Tripoli during the day is normal, but it is not safe to venture out in the night."

But for Dinesh Diwedi, who has been living in Libya for 27 years and presently working with the country's National Oil Corporation, "life is normal". He claimed that "no Indian was harmed", but feared "situation may get worse."

Ravi praised the efforts of embassy officials for evacuating Indian nationals from Libya. "We are committed to bring back all the Indians stranded in Libya," he added.

(Agencies)