British couple freed by Somali pirates after 1 year

November 14, 2010 14:18

Kenya  — A British couple kidnapped off their private yacht by Somali pirates more than a year ago were set free Sunday, ending one of the most drawn-out and dramatic hostage situations since the rash of piracy began off East Africa.

Paul and Rachel Chandler looked relaxed and smiled through a small ceremony held in the Somali town of Adado after their morning release. Rachel Chandler told The Associated Press by phone: "We are happy to be alive."

Pirates boarded the Chandler's 38-foot yacht during the night of Oct. 23, 2009, while sailing from the island nation of Seychelles. The couple, married for almost three decades, took early retirement about four years ago and were spending six-month spells at sea.

Efforts to free the couple by the Somali diaspora, the weak Mogadishu-based government and Britain had failed until now. The couple flew from Adado to Mogadishu and were scheduled to continue on to Kenya's capital.

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