But as the sun rose over the shell of Sirte on Thursday, it was immediately apparent that something had changed.
I had arrived at the rebel position in the western suburb of Zafran in anticipation of another massed assault into District Two – the final pocket where Gaddafi loyalists had been holding out.
The embattled leader had been forced to retreat to an area 1000 yards by 500 yards, and was desperately moving from house to house, trying to evade capture.
Seeing the noose tighten to strangulation point, he had ordered his men on Wednesday night to pack a convoy of 75 vehicles in preparation for a move towards Wadi Jarif, 25 miles away.
"We decided to leave Sirte and go to Jarif because it had become unsafe," said Mansour Daou, Gaddafi's cousin and bodyguard. The Colonel, he said, was "tense, but not afraid".
The aircraft, which can remain "on station" for up to 18 hours, were being remotely flown from Creech air force base in Nevada. One of the predator pilots had now received permission to attack the fleeing convoy.
Just then, the French pilot began his bombing run, seconds later releasing two 500lb GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, into the centre of the convoy.
By time I reached the site of his capture, around two hours after he was seized, the bodies of three of his companions still lay at the entrance to the drain.