(CBS Miami)For 11 American missionaries and one Canadian, the whirring engines of a Coast Guard plane preparing to take off from the airport in Port Au-Prince Haiti doubled as the sweet sound of freedom.
Pastor Ron Marks of Hartdunkard Brothers Church in Michigan was relieved to hear a half dozen of his parishioners were finally freed, “We received some good news this morning that the last of the hostages in Haiti were free.
“We as a community have just come together over the last two months and have been praying together and have been receiving a lot of calls from around the world,” added Carleton Horst a fellow member of Hartdunkard Brothers Church.
Carleton Horst telling CBS4 News six of the freed on Thursday morning are from his Michigan Church, including a mother and her five children, one just 8-months-old. They all traveled to Haiti with Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.
The pastor of Hartdunkard Brothers Church says news of his parishioners freedom came in the form of a simple text message, which read, “Everyone is free. Praise the Lord!”
Details of how the freed hostages are doing and the condition of their release still unclear.
“I do not know their location or what the terms of them becoming free was. We have not been privy to that information yet,” said the pastor.
Two other missionaries were released back on November 21, and three more earlier this month.
400 Mawozo is the name of the gang Haitian officials said captured the missionaries, as the Christian group was returning from a visit to an orphanage.
The gang initially demand a ransom of $1 million per hostage. But it’s still unknown if, or how much, money was paid.
A State Department spokesperson confirmed the hostages’ release in a statement, reading, in part, “We welcome the news that the remaining 12 individuals, including 11 U.S. citizens and 1 Canadian citizen, are free and will soon be reunited with their loved ones. The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is the highest priority of the Department of State…”