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British Couple Freed By Pirates After 388 Days

Released British couple Rachel (R) and P

Released British couple Rachel (R) and Paul Chandler stand outside the British Embassy residence in Nairobi on November 14, 2010 after they arrived from Mogadishu following their release by Somali pirates. SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images/AFP hide caption

itoggle caption SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images/AFP

A British couple held for more than a year by Somali pirates were released yesterday. Paul and Rachel Chandler had retired and planned to take the trip of a lifetime, sailing around the world, when they were taken last year off the coast of Somalia. A ransom, some reports have it at about $800,000, was reportedly paid for their release. The BBC talked to the couple shortly after they were freed.

Mr Chandler told the BBC: "We're fine, we're rather skinny and bony but we're fine."

The couple were told they were to be released two days ago, he said.

"We were told on Friday in a way which gave us some confidence to believe it. Otherwise we'd been told we'd be released in 10 days almost every 10 days for the past nine months. So we'd taken all these suggestions with a pinch of salt."

The Chandlers said they were beaten once but were otherwise unharmed physically. Paul Chandler learned yesterday that his father had died during his captivity. The Guardian reports that the two were held so long because the pirates thought they had far more money than they did.

In a statement, the Chandler family said: "Throughout the protracted discussions with the pirates it has been a difficult task for the family to get across the message that these were two retired people on a sailing trip on a small private yacht and not part of a major commercial enterprise involving tens of millions of pounds of assets."

The British government says it paid no money to the couple's captors.

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