Hidden in the trunk of a car traveling through northwest Pakistan Wednesday, a US-Canadian family of five suddenly heard gunfire, followed by a cry from one of their abductors. "Kill the hostages," the man shouted, per the New York Times. After a short firefight, however, Pakistani forces pulled American Caitlan Coleman, 31; her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, 34; and their three children onto a helicopter that carried them to safety to the US Embassy in Islamabad on Thursday. That had not been the initial plan: Officials wanted the family to fly to the US air base in Bagram, Afghanistan. Boyle, who objected to visiting the base where Americans have been accused of abuse, refused, reports the Toronto Star. (He was previously married to the sister of a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, notes the AP in a backgrounder on the couple.)
It's still not clear where the family will end up. They were reportedly on a flight to London on Friday, reports the CBC. But Boyle—who suffered minor injuries from shrapnel during the rescue—"indicated that they'd like to come back to Canada," his mother says. Coleman is a native of Pennsylvania. In a call to his parents on Thursday, Boyle discussed how his 2-month-old daughter, 2-year-old son, and 4-year-old son, each born in captivity, needed passports. Still, he said his parents could be meeting their grandchildren as early as Friday. "My family is obviously psychologically and physically shattered by the betrayals and the criminality of what has happened," Boyle told the Star. "But we're looking forward to a new lease on life." He and Coleman, then pregnant, were captured by the Haqqani Network in 2012 while traveling in Afghanistan.