Man freed by Pirates told his father died

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler, held by Somali pirates for more than a year, were told after their release that his father had died, officials said.

Chandler, 60 and his wife, 57, were released Sunday after the payment of a ransom said to be about $1 million and were told of the death, the BBC reported.


"We thank you all for your concern and interest," the couple said in a statement. "We have just learned that Paul's father died in late July, and we obviously need to come to terms with that."

It wasn't immediately known who paid the ransom, but British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the British government didn't pay it.

Pirates seized the couple and their 38-foot yacht off the Seychelles Islands 800 miles east of the African coast Oct. 23, 2009. The captors initially asked for a $7 million ransom.

They were released in Adado, 220 miles northwest of Mogadishu, and taken to the British High Commission in Nairobi. They asked for privacy while they deal with the death of Paul Chandler's father.

"We do not intend to give any press interviews or make any further statements until we have had time to adjust to the situation and we would appreciate it if you would give us and our families some space, and respect our privacy for the moment," their statement said.


The couple said they would return home to Turnbridge Wells, England, "very soon."

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