After being held captive more than a year on their 38-foot yacht in the Indian Ocean, Somali pirates have set free a British couple early today, ending one of the longest hostage situations off East Africa. Paul and Rachel Chandler appeared thin but relaxed in a small ceremony in their honor, reports the AP, with Rachel Chandler saying simply: "We are happy to be alive."
"We are happy to be alive, happy to be here, desperate to see our family, and so happy to be amongst decent, everyday people, Somalis, people from anywhere in the world who are not criminals, because we've been a year with criminals and that's not a very nice thing to be doing," Rachel Chandler said at a news conference in Mogadishu. There are conflicting reports as to whether a ransom was paid—Either a $300,000 ransom for "expenses" or the Somali diaspora contributed to a $1 million ransom. (Read more Somali pirates stories.)