Marriage proposal lends kidnap ordeal happy end

Marriage proposal lends kidnap ordeal happy end
"I am only alive thanks to her," said Angel Sánchez before asking: "Will you marry me?" Photo: STR/AFP
The story of two Spaniards rescued after a month-long kidnap ordeal looks set to have a happy ending after their press conference turned into a public marriage proposal.

María Concepción Marlaska and Ángel Sánchez were taken hostage by a guerrilla group on May 17th and held in a remote area of Colombia's La Guajira province near the border with Venezuela.

They were finally freed after a raid by a specialist anti-kidnapping unit.

The couple initially refused to make any public comments about their experience but that changed on Sunday when they held a press conference in the Spanish embassy in Bogota, according to Catalan daily El Periodico.

Sánchez, 49, seized the opportunity to propose to Marlaska, 43, his partner of seven years.

"I'm going to do something I thought I would not ever do, at least under these circumstances, which is to ask for your hand in marriage," he said.

"I hope you don't say no."

"Will you be my wife? Will you marry me?" he asked.

Marlaska's reply was emphatic: "Yes."

The couple detailed their "traumatic" experience but said that they were both "very well."

Marlaska explained that the experience had brought them closer because "it is essential to become a team to stay strong" and said that throughout their period of captivity they had mutually supported each other to keep their spirits up.

A visibly emotional Sánchez declared: "I want to say something very important, in public."

"I am only alive thanks to her."

He added: "I want the whole world to know, because otherwise I would have gone crazy."

The couple, both from Avilés in the northern autonomous region of Asturias, said that they were eager to return to normal daily life when they return to Spain on Monday.

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