"Words are unnecessary... I will only hug her"
son of nurse Snezhana Dimitrova
"The aircraft of the French republic has taken off from Libya bound for Sofia with the five Bulgarian nurses and the doctor of Palestinian origin on board," the French presidency said in a statement.
The plane is expected to land in Sofia at 9:45 am local time (6:45 GMT).
"The French President, Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, and the President of the European Commission, Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, welcome the agreement that has at last allowed this release and the return to Bulgaria of the nurses held for more than eight years, and of the Palestinian doctor," the statement said.
The medical workers, sentenced to life the Libyan case but allowed to serve their terms at home, will be pardoned on their arrival in Sofia, a Bulgarian foreign ministry spokesman said.
"There is still no presidential decree pardoning the medics but the procedure is under way, some technical details remain to be specified to allow this procedure to be over the moment they step onto Bulgarian soil," Dimitar Tsanchev told bTV television.
Bulgarian radio has reported the "tremendous euphoria" at Sofia airport, where the relatives of the medics were waiting for their arrival.
"Words are unnecessary... I will only hug her," said Ivaylo Nikolchovski, son of nurse Snezhana Dimitrova.