Rachel Chandler in Somalia
Almost three years after Paul and Rachel Chandler were snatched at gunpoint and taken hostage by Somali pirates, they are returning to the high seas – in the same yacht.
The British pair were taken prisoner for 388 days while sailing in the Indian Ocean in October 2009 with the pirates demanding a $7-million ransom, a sum the Chandlers knew was far beyond what their family and friends could raise. Hidden in Somalia, they faced the risk of disease and feared getting caught in the cross-fire between multiple gangs or being sold to al-Qaida.
Their torment now just a memory, the Chandlers are due to set off later this week on a six-month cruise to Brazil aboard the Lynn Rival.
“It’s our life,” Paul told NBC News. “Our yacht … enabled us to get our sanity back. We won’t be beaten by these guys.”
The most striking thing about the couple is not that they emerged unscathed from captivity but just how intensely close they are. The strength of their marriage was key to helping them survive the 13-month long nightmare at the hands of Somali pirates.