CNN BREAKING NEWS
Details of POWs' Recovery
Aired April 13, 2003 - 11:02 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We first learned of the recovery of the American troops during Wolf Blitzer's interview this morning with General Tommy Franks, commander of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
We get the details on today's remarkable recovery from CNN's Bob Franken. He's joining us now live on the phone. Good morning, once again, Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Heidi. We are still at that base about 65 miles south of Baghdad, where several hours ago you saw the remarkable video shot by CNN's cinematographer Jerry Simonson (ph), as the POWs had their first taste of freedom.
They had been freed just a short time before, when the Iraqi unit that was holding them had its officer's desert. The lower members of that unit wanted to surrender. They took their POWs and came upon a Marine unit that was coming up the highway between Samarra and Tikrit, where there is so much military action going on, and turned them over to the Marines.
But as we watched when they came by their helicopters to the space, they -- five who were in the best of health in one of the helicopters came bounding out of their craft went just racing to a vehicle, hands pumped in the air. All of them obviously all in very good spirits and very good physical health. Only one of them had a cast on his arm.
And then from the other helicopter, a couple others who were not in as good health. One, the woman, had what appeared to be injuries to her leg and then there was the other person with injuries. Both walked themselves with no real help to their ambulances. Nobody thought it was necessary to go to the field hospital here. They were quickly whisked into the C-130 that was waiting for them and taken to Kuwait.
At the base here, there was just jubilation when they got off their plane. They were greeted by applause from a line of Marines who had come out to welcome them back. Everybody is thrilled to death, as you can imagine, and, of course, just delighted that they could take part in this rescue operation. A very happy ending to a story that had been one of the very sad stories of this war. Heidi?
COLLINS: And, Bob, something that we were hearing a little bit earlier about Marines and Army and the mixture of the two. I'm sure the Army never happier to see the Marines on this very day.
Thanks so much, Bob Franken. We'll check back with you later.
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