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Father of rescued hostage says daughter doing well

Thursday - 2/16/2012, 11:48am  ET

LYNCHBURG, Va. - The father of a woman rescued by Navy SEALS in Somalia last month says there were "dark moments" as she spent months in captivity but that she's doing well.

In an interview with The News & Advance and WSLS-TV ( http://bit.ly/AvQug9), John Buchanan says his daughter, Jessica Buchanan, has shared some stories of her four months in captivity by Somalia pirates, and that some have been difficult to hear.

"I have to say I'm glad that at the time I didn't know some of the things that were going on," he said. "It would have made it even that much more frustrating and debilitating. These were just some bad people."

Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted, a Dane, were abducted in Central Somalia in October while working in demining efforts for the Danish Refugee Council.

"There were some pretty dark moments," he said. "The kidnappers ... were impossible to deal with. There was money available, but they were completely unreasonable."

All that came to an end with a phone call at 10:42 p.m. on Jan. 24. For 40 minutes, John Buchanan waited at the direction of the White House to hear the status of his daughter. When President Barack Obama finished his State of the Union address he called John at his Bedford County home to tell him that his 32-year-old daughter was safe, rescued by the same unit that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

"I couldn't believe I was actually talking to him," Buchanan said. Obama, as a father, offered sympathy for the trying ordeal.

Obama approved the daring rescue by Navy SEALS because Jessica's health was failing. John Buchanan said his daughter was doing well physically, but he didn't elaborate.

"She's a strong girl," he said. "I think she'll be fine."

The Buchanans are staying in Pennsylvania for now, but John said Jessica will return to Europe where her organization is based. She and her husband, a Swedish citizen, are not certain if they will return to aid work, he said.

"It's been a pretty intense experience for everybody," he said.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)