After 388 days in captivity, the British couple are to return home

A ransom deal struck with Somali pirates led to the release yesterday of British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler (60 and 53), who were kidnapped while sailing off the Seychelles.

After 13 months held at gunpoint in makeshift tents, Paul Chandler emerged with his wife Rachel and declared: “We are rather skinny and bony, but we’re fine.”

Relatives in Britain had paid about $450,000 (£280,000) to the pirates in an airdrop in June this year, but the Pirates still refused to release their prisoners without more. They are understood to have received an additional sum in excess of $200,000. The Chandlers’ family refused to discuss how the release was brought about, insisting that it would be “irresponsible” to do so.

Mr and Mrs Chandler appeared in good health arriving at the military wing of Nairobi’s main airport. Mrs Chandler said: “I’m enjoying being free.”

The couple took early retirement about four years ago and were spending six-month spells at sea. Pirates boarded their 38ft yacht, Lynn Rival, on 23 October last year about 60 miles from the Seychelles. Their 388-day ordeal ended when they flew into Kenya after a brief stopover in Mogadishu, Somalia’s ‘capital’ city. They will receive further medical checks at the British Ambassador’s residence in Nairobi before flying home to Britain.