Final member of NBC News team working with Richard Engel crosses safely from Syria
The final member of the NBC News team working with Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel crossed safely from Syria into Turkey early Wednesday, NBC News said in a statement.
Ian Rivers, who provides technical support for NBC News, got separated from the rest of Engel's production team in the midst of the firefight early Monday, which resulted in the team's escape from captivity. Until now, Rivers' whereabouts in Syria had been unknown. Rivers was said to be in good condition and will be evaluated in Turkey, according to the network.
“Now that Ian Rivers has been reunited with Richard Engel’s entire production team, all of us at NBC News can breathe a huge sigh of relief and express our deep appreciation to all who helped secure their freedom. At the same time, our thoughts and concerns are with those who remain missing inside Syria and we hope for their swift and safe release,” said NBC News President Steve Capus.
Engel, 39, and his team disappeared shortly after crossing into northwest Syria from Turkey last Thursday. The network had not been able to contact them until learning that they had been freed on Monday.
The network said there was no claim of responsibility, no contact with the captors and no request for ransom during the time the crew was missing.
After entering Syria, Engel and his team were abducted, tossed into the back of a truck before being transported to an unknown location believed to be near the small town of Ma'arrat Misrin. During their captivity, they were blindfolded and bound, but otherwise not physically harmed, the network said.
Early Monday evening local time, the prisoners were being moved to a new location in a vehicle when their captors ran into a checkpoint manned by members of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, a Syrian rebel group. There was a confrontation and a firefight ensued. Two of the captors were killed, while an unknown number of others escaped, the network said.
Engel and his team were unharmed in the incident. Engel and several other members of the team remained in Syria until Tuesday morning when they made their way to the border and re-entered Turkey, the network said.