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Skipper describes hijacking to cops

Africa

Richards Bay skipper Peter Eldridge was exhausted on Sunday after returning from the Netherlands, where he was interviewed by police and court officials on his hijacking by Somali pirates in 2010.

Eldridge, skipper of the yacht, Choizil, was confronted by AK47-wielding pirates off the Tanzanian coast on October 26. He, along with Durban couple Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah Calitz, were held hostage for 13 days before the yacht ran aground. Eldridge was left on the yacht after he refused to disembark, but Pelizzari and Calitz were taken hostage. Their whereabouts are still unknown, although it is suspected that they are being held on the Somali mainland.

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Peter Eldridge, skipper of the yacht Choizil, has described his ordeal at the hands of Somali pirates who seized his yacht and kidnapped his crewmates, Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah Calitz, to Dutch police and court officials. Pcture: Marie Strachan

Five suspected Somali pirates – believed to be among those who hijacked Eldridge – were arrested and will stand trial in the Netherlands.

Eldridge was flown to the Netherlands last week to testify.

On Sunday he said he was first interviewed by Dutch police, to whom he related details of the incident. He also looked at photographs of the accused men and identified some of them as the pirates who had hijacked the Choizil.

“I then went before the magistrate and said virtually the same things, and was then asked questions by the lawyers.”

Eldridge said he did not believe that he would have to return to the Netherlands for the trial. He said that giving evidence there and knowing that some of the men had been arrested had not helped him in dealing with the trauma of the incident.

“It is probably something I will never get over… The most important thing now is to get Bruno and Debbie back safely,” he said. - The Mercury

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