On February 13, 2003, a plane carrying three American military contractors - Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes, and Keith Stansell - crashed in the mountainous jungle of Colombia. Dazed and shaken, they awoke battered and covered in blood with automatic rifles pointing at their faces. As of that moment they belonged to the terrorist organization known as the FARC, the military arm of the Colombia Communist Party established in the 1960s. Thus began five-and-a-half years of captivity as these three men struggled to survive the madness of their surroundings.
Gonsalves, Howes, and Stansell recount their amazing tale of survival, friendship, and, ultimately, rescue in its entirety for the first time. Revealing the story of their crash, their horrific treatment at the hands of the FARC, what they witnessed as captives, and how they survived, the book provides vivid and gruesome firsthand accounts of their years in the jungle. In their own words, they detail the brutality they endured both physically and mentally at the hands of their captors, describing month-long, unrelenting `starvation` marches while suffering broken bones, dehydration, exhaustion, and infection.They speak of months of solitary confinement and heavy chains wrapped around their necks that often left them wishing for death. Offering a glimpse inside one of the world`s most notorious terrorist organizations, "Out of Captivity" tells the story of how far three Americans were willing to go as they fought to survive for themselves, their families, and each other, providing unflinching insight into: their plane crash into a FARC strategic meeting site, and the FARC`s execution-style murders of their crewmembers Tom Janis and Luis Cruz; the U.S. counter-narcotics surveillance role in `Plan Colombia`, including their aerial flights for electronic eavesdropping and FARC communication interceptions; the clandestine role they played as U.S Government contractors in the War on Drugs; their five-and-a-half years of captivity, torture, and deprivation; and, their experiences with other hostages, including their fraught relationship with fellow captive Ingrid Betancourt.This title also provides insight into: how they learned to live off the jungle and survive in some of the world`s harshest conditions; how their friendship helped each of them to survive; how spirituality played a role for each during different phases of their imprisonment; the FARC`s leaders, activities, movements, and organization; their dramatic rescue by special military units on the ground in Colombia; the reintegration process and the emotional reunions with their families and loved ones; and, how captivity has changed them and what their lives are like seven-and-a-half months after being rescued.
Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle
by Mark Gonsalves, Tom Howes, Keith Stansell
William Morrow & Company, 03/2009, 480 pages, English