01:23 PM EDT 12/22/2014


Richard Engel

Kidnapped NBC Newsman Returns to Safety

Richard Engel, NBC Newsman, Returns to Safety After Kidnapping

Originally posted 12/18/2012 08:30AM

Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, and two of his crewmembers escaped Monday after they were kidnapped, psychologically tortured and held in captivity for five days inside Syria, Engel – standing with his two colleagues in Antakya, Turkey – said in a live broadcast on Tuesday's Today show.

"It is good to be here," said Engel, looking fit and sounding erudite as ever. "I'm very happy that we're able to do this live shot this morning."

Engel, 39, was with producer Ghazi Balkiz and cameraman John Kooistra to report on the insurgency that is fighting President Bashar al-Assad in the troubled country. He said Tuesday, "We were driving in Syria about five days ago in what we thought was a rebel-controlled area. We were with some of the rebels."

Suddenly, he said, "a group of gunmen just literally jumped out of the trees and bushes on the side of the road. There were about 15 gunmen. They were wearing masks. They were heavily armed. They dragged us out of the car."

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