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Sunday
Nov142010

Somali Pirates Hand Over British Couple After More Than a Year

Paul and Rachel Chandler sit with Speaker of the Somali Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. Photo Courtesy - Somali Presidency / A. Wehliya (LONDON) -- A retired British couple is free for the first time since Somali pirates took them hostage more than a year ago.

Retiring early, Paul and Rachel Chandler had planned the vacation of a lifetime – six months at sea. Instead, they were captured by armed pirates in the Indian Ocean and brought to Somalia, where they were held, often at gunpoint.

"We're feeling happy to be alive, happy to be free,” Rachel Chandler said. “Happy to be here, desperate to see our family and our friends.”
 
The waters near Somalia are infested with pirates.  There are reports they have captured more than 20 ships and are currently holding more than 500 hostages.

Ransoms are often in the millions of dollars for large ships.  Friends and relatives of the Chandlers reportedly raised more than $400,000 for their release.

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