TODAY

TODAY   |  May 13, 2013

Woman recounts being rescued by SEAL Team 6

Jessica Buchanan was working at her dream job, doing humanitarian work in Somalia, when she was kidnapped at gunpoint. She talks about the harrowing 93 days she spent in captivity before being rescued by SEAL Team 6, saying she felt “like an animal.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> at 32 jessica buchanan had done what she'd hope to do, humanitarian work in the war-torn country of somalia. while there her dream of making a difference was suddenly derailed by a serious turn of events. october 25th , 2011 , jessica buchanan and danish aide worker poul thisted were returning from a training session when they were kidnapped by somali land pirates and taken hostage. this live video was released by their captors demanding a $45 million ransom payment. after 93 days in captivity in unsanitary conditions jessica 's health was deteriorating, with no time to lose president obama ordered the u.s. military to launch a secret rescue operation . s.e.a.l. team 6, the same group in a took out osama bin laden in 2011 swept into the area and took the kidnappers by surprise, igniting a tense exchange of gunfire. the s.e.a.l.s killed all nine kidnappers and jessica and poul were rescued unharmed. president obama was preparing for a state of the union address when he was informed the hostages were in u.s. hands. as he entered the capital that night he congratulated leon panetta for his successful mission.

>> good job tonight.

>> the president is seen calling jessica 's father, john, to inform him that his daughter was safe and on her way home. jessica buchanan and her husband, eric, write about that experience in the new book "impossible odds." good morning, it is good to see both of you.

>> thank you.

>> boy, go back to that time, jessica , that you were on your way, you knew you were in an area that was potentially dodgy. did you have a bad feeling about it?

>> i did have a bad feeling in the sense that i was in an area that held a lot of insecurity but never did i ever imagine that something such as an abduction would take place.

>> so take us back to that moment. suddenly you're surrounded.

>> completely surrounded, yelling, screaming, hitting windshields with ak-47s, guns in my face and we just take off riding through the desert to god only knows where.

>> when you first were realizing the magnitude of the situation you found yourself in, did you think, i may die today? this is it?

>> absolutely. i mean, every single second of every day of the captivity, that was a possibility.

>> eric, for you, you obviously learned that the worst had happened, and yet you were told, you were advised by those who were experts in these situations not -- you weren't the one dealing with the captors or the negotiators. how hard was that for you to have her in captivity and for to you feel so helps?

>> yeah, it was terrible. it was the worst kind of feeling that i've ever experienced. i just wanted to go in after her but at the same time i had to just trust that the right people would do the right thing to get her back to me.

>> jessica , 93 days in captivity. we don't have the time to do it justice, but what were those days like, and how did they treat you?

>> they were long and scary, sometimes incredibly boring and worried that i was actually maybe not going to necessarily lose my life but lose my mind, and they never treated us humanely. lot of times i just felt like an animal put on display.

>> not given very much to eat?

>> no. no. bread, some tuna fish , a little bit of water.

>> when you realized that they were asking for money, that that was their motivation, did that provide some spit of relief, because i guess you're thinking well there's a chance they'll let me live then.

>> well, initially, yes, i did think that money was the best option, until they started screaming at us for $45 million. i mean, the title of the book is "impossible odds" and it's a great title because it felt like the most impossible situation ever. $45 million. where do you come up with something like that?

>> and then about three months into your captivity in the dark of night, your rescuers come, s.e.a.l. team 6 as it turns out. tell me about that moment.

>> just complete shock and awe that these men risked their lives to come in and to save mine and give me a second chance.

>> you must not have believed it in that moment.

>> no, absolutely not.

>> what did they say to you?

>> they said my name and they said we're here to take you home.

>> have you ever gotten to talk to them?

>> i haven't, no. you know, they're just like that, they come in, they do their job and they fade into the distance, and just incredible, incredib incredible people.

>> i'm sure the experience has transformed you. you write about it in the book, if people want to know more. i have to tell the happy ending, you have had a little baby boy named august.

>> yes.

>> yes, he's amazing. he's a little over 7 months old and we just couldn't be any happier.

>> it's a story of great perseverance and great faith on the part of your father. the book is called "impossible