Oxford welcomes kidnap hero

first_imgRunaway hostage braves media storm to start term at TrinityMatthew Scott, the student who so dramatically escaped from kidnappers in the Columbian jungle last month, came up to Oxford yesterday to start his degree. The engineering student arrived at Trinity College as planned, despite having returned to the UK only a fortnight ago. Scott was taken hostage by a Columbian terrorist group while trekking to the remote Lost City ruins in the Sierra Nevada mountains on 12th September. After two days of marching with seven others at gunpoint, Scott made his escape in low visibility caused by rainfall, “I saw a chance and ran. I heard the river on the right and I followed the sound. The sides were very steep. I jumped over the edge very quickly. I was lucky not to break my arms or legs.” Scott trekked alone without any food for 12 days to escape from his captors and was picked up by indigenous people from the local area, “The tribe that found me gave me soup and beans with a little salt and three oranges.” When found, he was flown by helicopter to a military base at Santa Marta in the Caribbean. Despite speculation that he might postpone starting university, Scott explained that his plans would be unaffected by the horrifying ordeal, saying “I’m going to be just fine. Life is looking pretty good.” Although he is still in pain due to trench foot contracted during his 12-day jungle nightmare, Scott’s sense of humour does not seem to have suffered. He told Cherwell, “I am looking forward to Freshers’ Week. I took some trouble to make it.” James Scott, Matthew’s father, said: “Matthew is a very lucky boy. We thought he might be dead. We did not know whether he was alive or being tortured. We are absolutely thrilled. It was a very risky escape.” The College president, Sir Michael Beloff QC, expressed relief at Scott’s safe return to the UK, praising his “initiative and determination”. On his return, Scott’s picture was featured on the front page of nearly every national newspaper. After arriving to a frenzied press conference at Heathrow, Scott spent the days before coming up in negotiation with the press over coverage of his story, courting five-figure sums. Cherwell can confirm that Scott’s own story of events is to be published in the Daily Telegraph and is expected to appear within the next few days. He was understandably reluctant to speak in detail about his experience, saying “For the moment I have to consider that some of the information I hold is still sensitive and the situation is very tense. I am worried about the safety of the other seven hostages. Any publicity that this story attracts could damage their position.”ARCHIVE: 0th Week MT2003last_img

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