Freed Yacht Couple Opens Up About Traumatic Year

Retired Brits spent year held captive by Somali thugs
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Nov 15, 2010 1:45 AM CST

(Newser) – The retired British couple who was released yesterday after a year held hostage by pirates who seized them as they sailed the ocean in their yacht opened up about their ordeal, saying one of their most difficult parts was being severely beaten when they refused to be separated during their captivity. "We were really distraught, we were very frightened at that point," said Rachel Chandler, 56. She and her husband were held in harsh conditions in intense heat in Somalia throughout their captivity. Paul Chandler said the two were still relatively healthy, though "rather skinny and bony," reports the BBC.

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Details of any ransom paid were not revealed, though it's believed to be close to $1 million. The pirates initially demanded $7 million for their release. A payment of some $430,000 last summer failed to free the couple. "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," said a statement issued by the couple's family. (Read more Rachel Chandler stories.)

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