Freed Paul and Rachel Chandlers arrive back in UK

Media caption,
Paul and Rachel Chandler pass through Heathrow airport after returning to the UK

Freed British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler have arrived back in the UK after being held captive by Somali pirates for more than a year.

Their return brings to an end a 388-day ordeal which began in October 2009, when their yacht was seized by pirates as it sailed from the Seychelles.

The couple, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, landed at Heathrow Airport at 1844 GMT on a flight from Nairobi.

News of the release of Mr and Mrs Chandler, 60 and 57, emerged on Sunday.

On Tuesday night, they left the plane separately from other passengers and were met by a car on the tarmac.

Looking tired and pale, the pair walked quickly to the waiting vehicle and drove off.

On Sunday they were handed over to local officials in the Somali town of Adado after a ransom of up to £620,000 was reportedly paid to their kidnappers.

The Chandlers were then flown to the capital Mogadishu and on to Nairobi, Kenya.

They only learned after their release that Mr Chandler's elderly father Alfred had died while they were being held.

They spent 13 months held hostage in harsh conditions and intense heat in rural Somalia and said they were beaten when they refused to be separated.

They had been sailing from the Seychelles towards Tanzania as part of a longer voyage when they were taken.

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