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Aid workers face controlled recovery after rescue

Deliberate, slow return awaits Buchanan, Thisted.

Jessica Buchanan Poul Thisted rescued Somalia hostagesEnlarge
Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted, both aid workers with the Danish Refugee Council in Somalia, were freed by US military forces on Jan. 24. (Danish Refugee Council/Courtesy)

Rescued aid workers Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted face a controlled, thorough return to their former lives after a daring rescue by the Navy SEALs.

The pair landed in Italy on Thursday, a day after the famed Navy SEAL Team 6 freed them from a Somali pirate compound.

An American military representative said the pair landed at US Naval Air Base Sigonella on Sicily, and they will now undergo a “post-captivity reintegration process,” the New York Times reported.

There is no set timetable for their return, Lt. Tim Page said.

“It depends very much on the individual; no two scenarios are alike,” he told the Times.

Pirates kidnapped Buchanan, a 32-year-old American, and Thisted, a 60-year-old Dane, after they visited a Somali town on Oct. 25 for the Danish Refugee Council.

President Obama ordered the Navy SEALs to free them, which they did Wednesday much the same way they killed Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden last year.

The SEALs killed nine Somali pirates during the nighttime operation.

More from GlobalPost: Somalia hostages Jessica Buchanan, Poul Thisted freed by Navy SEALs

According to CNN, Buchanan and Thisted are undergoing the second phase of a three-step process to help the pair recover from any trauma they endured.

"An inherent and critical part of the reintegration process is the decompression period that has been established to maximize returnee health and welfare," a military official told CNN. "This process normally requires a minimum of 72 hours to be effective."

CBS News reporter Bob Simon said a difficult recovery awaits the pair. Iraqi soldiers held Simon for 40 days during the 1991 Gulf War.

"The first few days you're ecstatic. You're free; you didn't think you were going to survive. It's pure ecstasy," he said. "And, then, reality sinks in. You don't really feel so good anymore. You're more fragile than you think you are at first."

Simon said it’s important to take your time returning to a familiar routine.

"I went back to work immediately, which was a dumb thing to do,” he said. “You shouldn't get back to real life right away."

The Buchanan family expressed their gratitude for the military intervention. Buchanan’s father, John, said a phone call from President Obama left him with strong patriotic pride.

“He said, 'John, this is Barack Obama. I'm calling because I have great news for you. Your daughter has been rescued by our military,'" Buchanan told CNN. "I'm extremely proud and glad to be an American. I didn't know this was going to transpire. I'm glad it did."

John Buchanan was also on his way to Italy to meet his daughter, who is "doing well, under the circumstances."

More from GlobalPost: Navy SEALs dramatic rescue shows new Obama doctrine 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120127/rescued-aid-workers-face-controlled-recovery-aft