16 Nov 2010

Chandlers arrive back in Britain after kidnap ordeal

The couple held hostage for more than a year in Somalia set foot back on British soil tonight.

Paul and Rachel Chandler landed at Heathrow airport tonight after a flight back from Nairobi, where they’d stayed since their release at the weekend.

They were captured by Somali pirates in October 2009 as they sailed their yacht – the Lynn Rival – from the Seychelles towards Tanzania.

Their return – aboard Virgin Atlantic flight VS672 from Nairobi -brought to an end a 388-day ordeal.

Mr and Mrs Chandler looked tired and pale as they left the plane separately from other passengers and were met by a car on the tarmac.

As revealed by Channel 4 News, they were finally freed following the mediation of a Somali-born former London minicab driver.

They were released on Sunday and handed over to local officials in the Somali town of Adado after a ransom of more than half a million dollars was reportedly paid to their kidnappers.

They were staying at the British High Commission in Nairobi when they were told of the death of Mr Chandler’s father during their captivity.