American aid worker Jessica Buchanan was held captive in the Somali desert for 93 days. Her captors were heavily-armed pirates who initially demanded a $45 million ransom. She describes the harrowing ordeal and dramatic rescue to Anderson Cooper in an in-depth interview.
In her last "proof of life" call to her family on January 16, Buchanan told them she had an infection and urgently needed medication to survive. For months she had become weak from exposure to the elements and little food or clean water. That call set in motion the rescue operation that would end her nightmare.
Buchanan says she had no idea anybody knew where she and her Danish colleague were being held. She never imagined President Obama was aware of her imprisonment and location.
In late 2011, American aid worker Jessica Buchanan and a Danish colleague were abducted in Somalia and held captive for 93 days. With negotiations failing and her health declining, President Obama gave the go ahead for a dramatic rescue lead by the U.S. Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six. Tonight on 360, Buchanan and her husband recount her harrowing abduction and amazing rescue. They also share their remarkable story in the new book “Impossible Odds.”
“I felt like I was in the most impossible situation,” Buchanan told Anderson. Her kidnappers were Somali pirates who had moved their operation from sea to land. The pirates were high from chewing khat, a plant that acts as an amphetamine-like stimulant. They demanded $45 million in ransom. The pirates kept asking how could her family not have the money. She says she constantly told them, “I’m just an aid worker.”
According to Buchanan, the most terrifying pirate was an 11-year-old boy. He was walking around with a machine gun and draped in ammunition. “He followed me and terrorized me through the whole ordeal.”
American aid worker Jessica Buchanan was kidnapped in Somalia. She tells Anderson Cooper the story of her remarkable rescue. After 93 days in captivity and constant fear she would die, she was saved by U.S. Navy SEALs. Hear more of her fascinating story Friday on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
Four simple words tweeted in support of Jason Collins, an NBA player who came out, and a church changed their mind about inviting former NFL player LeRoy Butler to speak to the children in the congregation about bullying.
Congrats to Jason Collins
Congrats to Jason Collins
— leroy butler (@leap36) April 29, 2013
Butler said he was "a little shocked" when the church first brought up the tweet and expressed concern that he was going to talk about gay people with the kids, which he never intended to do. "I speak all the time ... I tell my story. Single parent home; African American; from the projects; going to Florida State and playing for the Green Bay Packers for 12 years."
Filmmaker Spike Lee talks with Anderson Cooper about the reaction to NBA player Jason Collins coming out. Lee believes the push for gay rights started with the Civil Rights Movement. He thinks Collins will get respect from the league and set an example for others, but he may not be accepted by everyone in the African American community.
On Monday NBA player Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete playing for an American pro sports team. The center who played for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards last year made the announcement in an essay he wrote for Sports Illustrated. “By its nature, my double life has kept me from getting close to any of my teammates,” wrote Collins.
About two months ago, former professional soccer star Robbie Rogers also revealed a personal secret in a letter he posted online. It began, "For the past 25 year I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations."
In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Rogers talks about the pain of living his life without family, friends and teammates knowing he is gay. He tried to embody the stereotypical macho athlete to avoid raising suspicions. "I went through the motions of having relationships and trying to convince people that I was straight." Even when he considered coming out, he was scared by the anti-gay jokes and slurs he heard in the locker room.
In an exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper, the wife and daughters of the slain Colorado prisons chief, Tom Clements, talk about the crushing loss, their love for him, and why they want to forgive his murderer.
Lisa Clements was home when her husband answered the door for his killer on March 19. She says the sound of the doorbell and what came after is an unmentionable darkness.
She doesn't want him remembered for the way he died, rather for the impact he made on people's lives. "There's a scripture that's talking about when darkness overtakes the Godly, light comes bursting through and I think that that scripture captures exactly what I would like people to know about Tom."
His family tells Anderson that Tom's career in corrections was successful because he was passionate about believing people could be redeemed.
In his first interview since he was jailed, the doctor sentenced to four years in prison for causing Michael Jackson's 2009 death told his version of events to Anderson Cooper.
Dr. Conrad Murray is in the process of appealing his conviction, arguing it was Jackson who was responsible for his own overdose, and that there was an obstruction of justice during the trial. Tonight he claimed he was actually trying to steer Jackson away from propofol and had "good" intentions.
"I maintain that innocence. I must tell you, I am extremely sorry that Michael has passed on. It's a tremendous loss for me," Murray told Anderson. "He was an absolutely great friend. To be honest, I became a sounding board for Michael. He offloaded and regurgitated everything that was bad in his past and everything that was dark."
Anderson questioned Murray about whether he feels guilty for the pop star's death, why he was treating Jackson at home with a surgical anesthetic, what he wants to do with his life if his conviction is overturned, and why he stepped away from the singer's bedside after giving him a propofol injection.
Skydiver Craig Stapleton spun out of control and plummeted to the ground when his parachute and backup chute broke. Anderson Cooper asked Stapleton and his jump partner about the frightening ordeal.
For more on the incident, read Skydiver's treacherous fall after parachute breaks
In grainy video, Craig Stapleton is seen turning wildly out of control as he plummets toward the ground. The parachute and backup chute failed the skydiver who lept out of a plane with Katie Hansen, his jump partner, in California. Stapleton and Hansen describe the frightening incident to Anderson Cooper on tonight's program.
The pair were trying a stunt with a flag, a factor that added to the confusion of what was happening when the chutes didn't open. “When I saw him spinning ... I started yelling ‘cut the flag away,’” says Hansen.
Stapleton was helplessly spinning for three minutes, but he tells Anderson it felt much longer. "In the air I knew I was going at a speed I was probably not going to survive," he says. Stapleton was especially fearful because he was heading toward rows of grape stakes at a speed of approximately 35 mph.