Richard Engel, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent, was freed after he was abducted by an unknown militia group in Syria.
During the ordeal, Engel and his team was abducted, blindfolded, and thrown in the back of a truck, but thankfully, Engel says that he wasn’t harmed otherwise.
The group was freed, unharmed, following a firefight between their captors and a Syrian rebel group at checkpoint.
“It’s good to be here,” Engel said during a live appearance on TODAY from Turkey. “I’m happy we’re able to do this live shot this morning.”
With news of NBC’s kidnapping hitting media only yesterday, it was revealed that Engel and his team, NBC producer Ghazi Balkiz and cameraman John Kooistra, had been missing since Thursday.
Engel’s disappearance has been a closely guarded secret, and the subject of a major media blackout, according to Buzzfeed:
BuzzFeed’s editor, Ben Smith, said he’d spoken to NBC spokeswoman Erika Masonhall, who urged him to respect the embargo in order to avoid feeding a media firestorm that could draw unwelcome attention to Engel, and that he agreed.
Keeping reporters’ and others’ disappearances under wraps is a relatively common practice, aimed at avoiding inflating a potential captive’s importance to hostage-takers or terrorists; New York Times reporter David Rohde’s capture by the Taliban was kept secret for 7 months.
In the end, two of Engel’s captors were killed.
We’re just glad he’s safe and sound.