After the Americans pressed the issue, Stevens’ body arrived at the tarmac about 15 minutes later.
“He arrived on an orange litter that came with an ambulance and he was in a body bag. When they pulled him out, unzipped the body bag, you could tell they cleaned him at the hospital,” Charles said. “There was no soot on his face.”
Charles choked up and his voice quivered as he described offering the ambulance driver money so the Americans could take the stretcher Stevens was lying on.
“I asked him, ‘I’m willing to pay $1000 for the litter.’ I don’t want to strip the ambassador from his last iota of dignity. I said, ‘We owe it to the ambassador,” Charles said. The Libyans ultimately gave up the gurney and took no money for it, he said.
The few remaining U.S. nationals and the bodies of the four dead Americans were taken to a Libyan Air Force C-130 military transport flown into Benghazi that morning by the shaky political coalition that nominally governed Libya at the time.
“We put the four bodies on the deck of the plane. I remember Ty was still bleeding. Even though he was dead, there was still blood exiting his body. I remember it made a stream of blood from the bodies all the way to the rear of the plane,” Charles said.
Edwards said that despite the fierce battle at the annex, he was most concerned about flying on the dilapidated Libyan C-130. “It was in horrible condition.