Freed Somalia hostage Buchanan arriving in Pennsylvania

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 30, 2012 7:13 PM
Freed Somalia hostage Buchanan arriving in Pennsylvania

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jessica Buchanan, rescued by U.S. special forces in Somalia after three months in captivity, is due to arrive home in Pennsylvania on Monday, her father told ABC World News.

John Buchanan said he was looking forward to "a great reunion" with his daughter Jessica, 32, a humanitarian aid worker who was kidnapped on October 25 in the town of Galkayo in the semi-autonomous Galmudug region.

Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted of Denmark, who was rescued with her during the daring Navy SEAL mission, were flown last week to an American naval installation in Italy.

"We're doing well as a family, and Jessica, we have not seen her yet -- so today's the big day," John Buchanan said in an interview with news anchor Diane Sawyer, according to ABC News. "We're all extremely excited about that. Obviously, I mean I can't really express it in words what it's going to be like to see her."

He also told the television network that he had received reports that "she's doing very well."

"She's physically on the mend and psychologically she's just done great and she's in a good frame of mind," he said in the interview.

Navy SEAL's drawn from the same unit that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year parachuted into Somalia under the cover of darkness, killing the kidnappers and freeing the hostages.

The raiding party arrived prepared to detain the kidnappers but was not able to do that and all nine were killed, Pentagon officials have said. None of the U.S. forces was hurt.

President Barack Obama ordered the rescue operation, which also involved other U.S. forces, after intelligence emerged about the deteriorating health of Buchanan and the location of the hostages in Somalia.

John Buchanan thanked Obama and credited the FBI for its work to free his daughter, according to ABC News.

As for the Navy Seals, John Buchanan said: "We just can't thank them enough for risking their lives."

(Writing by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Greg McCune)