Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt is enjoying her first taste of freedom after six years in a jungle hell. Her FARC captors were tricked into handing her over to the Colombian military.
She emerged from a government plane into the arms of her waiting mother for an emotional reunion.
For years Betancourt had listened to her mothers’ radio messages, broadcast into the Colombian jungle. Now she could finally hold her. Also rescued were 11 Colombian army and police officers and three Americans. They had been the high-profile bargaining chips the FARC tried to use to get their own prisoners released.
But in an audacious rescue mission members of the Colombian military flew straight into rebel territory posing as rebels themselves. They told local guerillas they were taking the hostages to meet rebel commanders.
They then tied them up, which Betancourt said made her and fellow captives furious, and put them onboard. Only once airborne did the pretend rebels reveal who they actually were.
Betancourt said she and the others were jumping and hugging so much they nearly brought the plane down.
She is now looking forward to a reunion with her teenage children.
They took a plane to Bogota provided by the French government.
They said they could not believe their mother was finally free.
Betancourt echoed the same sentiments on the tarmac in Colombia.