DES MOINES -- Relatives of Frederick Hubbell, who was released from a hijacked plane Saturday after two weeks in captivity, said they had expected the wealthy Iowan to be shot and were relieved the ordeal was over.
'We're very happy,' a brother, Michael Hubbell, said after a trans-Atlantic telephone call with the released hostage's parents, who left for Europe several days ago as an optimistic early step toward a reunion.
'They figured they could be 12 to 15 hours closer to where ever Fred was released,' he explained. 'We certainly were hopeful. We had no idea how it would end.'
Michael Hubbell said the State Department called the family, one of the wealthiest in Iowa, shortly after the Pakistani hijackers surrendered in Syria Saturday.
'He's probably is a little tired and needs a clean-up,' said brother James Hubbell III. 'But I'm sure he's fine.'
James Hubbell III said the lowest point in the hijacking was Thursday morning as a deadline approached for execution of three reported Americans on the plane.
'We expected him to be shot,' he said.
Michael Hubbell said he was surprised at how quickly the stalemate ended.
'It certainly had things built into it that could go on a long time,' he said. 'It was surprising the way it ended so quickly.'
Michael Hubbell said Frederick's wife Charlotte was 'over in New Delhi right now and probably is going to join Fred where ever he goes.'
Charlotte Hubbell was taken hostage with her husband but was ordered off the plane at gunpoint after one week. She has been waiting in New Delhi, India, as negotiations proceeded.
The Hubbells, both attorneys, were on an around-the-world vacation when the Pakistani plane was hijacked by three terrorists demanding the release of Pakistani political prisoners.
The terrorists surrendered Saturday when officials agreed to grant asylum to 54 political prisoners.
The Hubbell fortune was founded in the late 19th century in railroads, insurance and real estate. Frederick and Charlotte Hubbell were moving back to Des Moines from New York.
Iowa Gov. Robert D. Ray said 'a lot of prayers have been answered' with the end of the hijacking.
'When terrorism strikes and effects somebody who is close to us, we cannot help but have deep feelings of concern,' Ray said. 'We are grateful for Frederick Hubbell's release and for the news that he is safe and well.'