A Colombian soldier held hostage for more than 12 years has been freed by rebels and reunited with his family.
Sergeant Pablo Emilio Moncayo was one of the longest-held hostages of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or the FARC: he was 19 when taken captive during an attack on a mountain outpost on December 21, 1997.
It ends an ordeal that prompted his father to hike half-way across the country wearing a symbolic chain around his neck in a bid to garner support for his son's release.
Mr Moncayo was flown to the city of Florencia on a Brazilian helicopter that picked him up at an unannounced spot in southern Colombia where the rebels turned him over to a humanitarian team that included International Red Cross officials and a Colombian senator.
The soldier smiled warmly as he stepped down from the helicopter in camouflage fatigues before embracing his family.
His mother and father carried white daisies and his four sisters beamed as they hugged and kissed him. Mr Moncayo met his six-year-old sister, Laura, for the first time.
The soldier was generally in good health, said Adolfo Beteta, spokesman for the International Red Cross.
His father, high school teacher Gustavo Moncayo, had walked more than 620 miles across Colombia in 2007 to rally support for his son's release. He wore a chain around his neck and wrists like those used at times by the rebels to bind their prisoners.
"My heart is going a thousand an hour," the father had said on the airport tarmac when the helicopter took off to retrieve his son. The family had been anxiously awaiting his release since the FARC first announced last April that it planned to set him free.
President Alvaro Uribe has called the FARC's unilateral releases publicity stunts and has opposed a prisoner swap unless any guerrillas who are freed agree to abandon the rebels.