Ingrid Betancourt is back in the arms of her family tonight after six years in a FARC jungle prison camp, and after the Colombian military tricked the rebels into giving the prisoners up.
The former Colombian presidential candidate was met at the airport by her mother and husband as she came down the steps of a government plane, just hours after being plucked from the jungle.
She said she had had no idea that she was to be rescued, along with 11 Colombian police and army officers and three American contractors. All 15 have been together for the past seven years.
But today they were told they were being taken to meet a senior FARC commander. They were put on a helicopter, hands bound, which she said made them furious, then once inside the helicopter the people around them suddenly announced they were the Colombian military and that all 15 were now free.
Betancourt said the helicopter almost crashed they were jumping around and hugging each other so much.
The American hostages have not yet been seen on camera. It’s believed they are already on their way home to the United States.
“I want to thank God, the Virgin Mary, and my family,” Betancourt told reporters at the airport.
She went on to say that she wouldn’t have survived her ordeal without knowing that the world was behind her.
She is expected to be reunited with her teenage children in just a few hours time. They are on a plane to Bogata right now. Melanie and Lorenzo said they couldn’t believe their mother was free.