Released Fox journalists in Gaza call relieved families
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A Fox News correspondent and his cameraman telephoned their relieved families Sunday after being released by militants who held them hostage in the Gaza Strip for two weeks.
Steve Centanni, 60, called his family in California and sounded a bit shaky but excited his ordeal was over, his brother said.
“We’re just absolutely beside ourselves with joy. It was the best phone call I’ve ever had,” said Ken Centanni.
Cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand, opened his telephone conversation with his family with an apology.
“His first comment was that he was sorry he had put us through that,” the cameraman’s father, the Rev. Roger Wiig, told reporters in New Zealand.
“We are glad to hear his voice and his concerns straight away,” Wiig said. “It’s been a long and difficult wait.”
Centanni and Wiig were abducted by masked gunmen earlier this month. In a phone call with Fox News, Centanni said they were sometimes held face down in a dark garage, tied up in painful positions and forced at gunpoint to make videos and say they had converted to Islam.
The two journalists were dropped off Sunday at Gaza City’s Beach Hotel by Palestinian security officials.
Centanni began working at Fox in 1996 and is now a national correspondent living in Washington, D.C.
Ken Centanni, of San Jose, said his brother is likely to continue pursuing stories abroad in risky areas.
“You can’t hold him down. If I have anything to say about it he’ll quit but I don’t think he’ll listen to me,” he said.
Wiig’s twin brother, Sven, said his family too hopes Olaf will seek a safer career – but his father said it was unlikely Olaf “will be an office-based person.”
– Associated Press writer Ray Lilley in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.