National Press Club

Wednesday: Aid Worker to Tell Story of Being Kidnapped by Somali pirates

May 16, 2013 | By Nicole Hoffman | nhoffman@press.org

Jessica Buchanan and Erik Landemalm will discuss their book "Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six" at 6:30 Wednesday in the Conference Rooms. A book signing will follow the discussion.

Registration is required at by clicking here. This event is a fundraiser for the National Press Club Journalism Institute and tickets are free for Club members and $5 for the general public.

On October 25, 2011, 32-year-old Buchanan was working for a humanitarian non-government organization in Somalia, training people of the local communities how to avoid the landmines and unexploded munitions that litter the conflict regions of East Africa and the Horn of Africa when she was kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom by Somali pirates who had moved their operations from the sea to land.

For the next three months, she was terrorized by more than two dozen assault-rifle carrying pirates. Held outdoors in filthy conditions and kept on a starvation diet while her health steadily deteriorated, negotiations for her $45 million ransom dragged on. Finally, after 93 days of fruitless negotiations, President Barack Obama ordered Navy SEAL Team Six to raid the location. On January 25, 2012, while the president delivered his State of the Union speech, the rescue team of 24 members of Team Six parachuted from a C-130, hiked two miles to the location, and attacked the heavily armed pirates on duty that night. The team killed all nine kidnappers, with no harm to the hostages, who were quickly airlifted out.

"Impossible Odds" is a harrowing and heart-wrenching memoir of Jessica and Erik’s mutual journey during those torturous months. Together they relate the events prior to the kidnapping, the drama of Buchanan's fight to stay alive, and his efforts to bolster and support the hunt for her while he acted as liaison between their two families, the FBI, professional hostage negotiators, and the United States government.