Joy as Vietnam hostages return from Somali pirate ordeal
Three Vietnamese fishermen held hostage for nearly five years by Somali pirates returned home Tuesday to weeping relatives, saying they were "overwhelmed" with joy after their harrowing kidnapping.
The men were among 26 hostages freed Sunday who belonged to the crew of Naham 3, an Omani-flagged vessel that was seized south of the Seychelles in March 2012.
After a long flight from Kenya, a stunned looking Nguyen visa han quoc Xuan Phuong was greeted by his beaming father, who shouted the 27-year-old's name as he spotted him at Hanoi's Noi Bai international airport.
Nguyen Van Xuan (R), 35, one of three Vietnamese sailors freed by Somali pirates, holds his daughter at Hanoi's international airport Noi Bai on October 25, 2016 �Hoang Dinh Nam (AFP)
"I am overwhelmed with happiness," Phuong told AFP, as he embraced his tearful dad.
His crew, which also included seafarers from China, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and Taiwan, was taken hostage at the peak of Somali piracy.
Only one other crew of fishermen spent longer in the hands of Somali pirates.
The hostage takers initially captured 29 crew members from the Naham 3, but one died during the hijacking and two more died of illness during their captivity.
Phuong's father said the four and a half years without his son were agonising.
"We were so worried for him. We could do nothing but wait and wait," said 71-year-old Phan Xuan Linh, who travelled 300 kilometres (186 miles) to collect Phuong and bring him home to central Nghe An province.
Phuong, whose fishing employment paid $380 a month, said he thought constantly of his parents and suffered in the "very hot" conditions of Somalia, where the crew was held.
"We suffered a lot, we lacked so many things," he told AFP.
Fellow hostage Nguyen Van Ha, 35, embraced his tearful wife and young children as they were reunited at the airport, and said he was stalked by terror during his long stretch in captivity.
"Fear lingered the whole time we were there," he said, crammed inside a car with the two other survivors, surrounded by a crush of reporters.
"I am very happy to see my family. Thank you everyone."
Nguyen Van Xuan, 35, was the third Vietnamese hostage freed.
Phan Xuan Linh (C) father of Phan Xuan Phuong, one of three Vietnamese sailors freed by Somali pirates, talks on phone as he waits for his son at Hanoi's international airport Noi Bai on October 25, 2016 �Hoang Dinh Nam (AFP)