The families of three military contractors captured by Colombian rebels more than five years ago had no inkling they were about to be freed, McClatchy Newspapers reports. "It's a miracle today," said Amanda Howes, niece of Thomas Howes. Her uncle and his fellow former captives, Marc Gonsalves and Keith Stansell, were expected to arrive at a military base tonight in Texas.
"We're still teary-eyed and do not quite have our wits about us," said the stepmother of Stansell. The three men were conducting drug surveillance for the Pentagon when their plane was shot down by FARC rebels in 2003. They were the longest-held US hostages in the world before today's dramatic rescue. "I have prayed for him, every night for him, to come home," said Sharon Howes, sister-in-law of Thomas.