Tayside oil worker presumed dead in the Algerian hostage crisis

BP gas plant at In Amenas in Algeria.
Presumed dead: Friends have paid tribute to Carson Bilsland.

A Tayside oil worker is presumed dead in the Algerian hostage crisis.

Carson Bilsland, 46, originally from Bridge of Cally, near Blairgowrie, Perthshire, was described as "one of life's indomitable characters" as friends paid tribute to him.

It is understood his family are being kept up to date with the latest developments.

However, they were too upset to comment on Monday.

Mr Bilsland, who had worked as a non-destructive testing technician at the BP Statoil plant in Algeria since February 2011, is understood to have been taken hostage.

It is thought he died when Algerian special forces stormed the plant as the terrorist incident escalated.

Mr Bilsland has been described as an adventure sports enthusiast - and a former member of the British Speed Skiing team.

He also formerly worked as a skiing instructor at Glenshee.

A spokesman for the British Speed Ski Team said: "It is a very sad day for British speed skiing.

"Carson Bilsland, an intermittent speed skier from the late 80's until mid 2000's was killed in the Algerian hostage crisis.

"He was a hostage until the end when the Algerian special forces stormed a workshop with their no negotiation stratagy.

"Seven hostages and 11 captors were killed.

"I'm sure he wouldn't have given an inch. Carson was one of life's indomitable characters.

"[There are] so many memories, almost all of them hilarious. He will be sorely missed but very fondly remembered."

Former skiing acquaintance Murray Gordon said Mr Bilsland had worked at Glenshee before going into the oil industry.

He said: "He was always up for a laugh and enjoyed his skiing. He was a very popular instructor and just a really nice guy.

"Obviously he moved on from skiing and into the oil industry and I understand he was really enjoying that."

John Swinney, the MSP for Perthshire North, wrote on Twitter: "Deeply saddened that one of my constituents has not survived the Algerian hostage incident. My thoughts to his family at this terrible time."

The news comes as the brother of another Scot killed in Algerian says the Islamist militants responded to an assault by the army by lining up hostages and shooting them.

Kenneth Whiteside was one of five British nationals and a UK resident who are thought to be either dead or are unaccounted for.

Speaking to STV News, his brother Robert Whiteside said: "He was executed as the Algerian army went in the first time. They just lined up four and shot them."

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