Paul and Rachel Chandler were seized by Somali pirates more than one year ago



A British couple held by Somali pirates for more than a year have returned home to the UK following their release from captivity.

Paul and Rachel Chandler were freed on Sunday and arrived in London at around 6.44 pm on Tuesday from Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

Their release ended one of the most drawn-out hostage situations since pirate attacks spiked off east Africa.

Both appeared tired as they walked from the aircraft to a car waiting on the tarmac.

The Chandlers' ordeal began on October 23 last year as their luxury yacht sailed from Seychelles to Tanzania. In an effort to steer clear of the pirate-infested waters near Somalia, the couple travelled hundreds of miles southward.

But they were not too distant for the increasingly bold pirates. Armed men stormed their yacht and took it over at gunpoint. Several days later, they were transferred to a mother ship near the pirate base of Haradheere in central Somalia, while a British military ship looked on helplessly.

Longest captivity

The Chandlers have also survived the longest captivity under Somali pirates, who are holding more than 400 crew members for ransom

Security analysts point out that the ransom paid to free the Chandlers - believed to be between $800,000 and $1m since they were taken - will likely embolden the pirates to target Western individuals as they are perceived more lucrative.

A recent UN report said despite increased global effort to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia, pirates have "outpaced" the crackdown.

Meanwhile, the Chandlers are expected to be reunited with family and friends, where the government has prepared a national homecoming event for them.

Source: Agencies