JOHANNESBURG - The South African couple held hostage by Somali pirates thanked South Africans for never giving up on them.
Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday.
The couple were abducted from their yacht off the East African coast in October 2010.
Calitz told the media at the airport they were relieved to be home.
“Thank you all. We are happy to be home with our families.”
She said the support they received was overwhelming.
“We must have felt the vibrations of South African people there because something kept us going.”
Pelizzari said they were blessed with a second chance to life because they often thought they would never be released.
Relatives said the couple’s arrival was both a moment of joy and pain for them.
Pelizzari and Calitz will be debriefed in a presidential house in Pretoria.
Their release follows a joint operation between South African, Somali and Italian officials.
According to Pelizzari’s sister, Vera Hecht, the two are very thin and pale after spending 604 days in captivity.
(Edited by Zethu Zulu)