Glass Says He Locked Up Snoring Guards, Took Off : He Flies to Family in London

From Times Wire Services

American journalist Charles Glass today told his wife that he locked up his snoring guards and threw away the key in escaping from two months' captivity in Lebanon.

Fiona Glass said in an interview from London with ABC News that her husband had told her in a phone conversation "something about changing locks and chains and keys and finally getting out and locking his guards inside and throwing away the key, which he thought was pretty clever and it sounds rather good."

Glass reached a West Beirut hotel early today and said he had escaped from a 10th-floor apartment through a small window and down outside stairs. He telephoned his wife from Damascus, where he was handed over to the U.S. Embassy by Syrian forces who whisked him out of Beirut.

A family friend said Glass, a 36-year-old native of Los Angeles who left ABC News in March to do research on a book in Lebanon, is "fine and in safe hands."

His wife, asked how he reacted to suggestions that his Islamic fundamentalist guards looked the other way and allowed his escape, said, "I think he feels rather disappointed now that people keep saying: 'Well, you didn't really. They made it easy for you.' "

'Planning for Several Days'

She added: "He thought he'd escaped. He'd been planning it for several days . . . with the keys business."

She said her husband told her that "he'd had several changes of guards and the last lot weren't very nice at all so he didn't feel particularly guilty about locking them up."

She said he had spent his captivity blindfolded and did not have any contact with any of the 24 other foreign hostages, including eight Americans, believed held by fundamentalist factions in Lebanon.

In the Syrian capital of Damascus, Glass told reporters: "I feel good. The people who really suffered are my wife and children." He appeared to be in good shape but looked tired.

He said he wanted to fly to London, his home, "as soon as possible to meet with my family and folks." Official sources at Damascus airport reported later that a chartered jet carrying Glass left for London at 8:48 p.m.

Asked whether he was set free or had escaped, Glass replied: "It was an escape."

'I Need a Place to Hide'

Glass, wearing a blue jogging suit and no shoes, walked into the seaside Summerland Hotel in West Beirut at 2:30 a.m. today and said: "I am Charlie Glass. I need a place to hide," a Lebanese police spokesman said.

Glass said he escaped from a building in the Beirut suburb of Bir el Abed while his captors were sleeping. Bir el Abed is a stronghold of Hezbollah, or Party of God, which is believed to be an umbrella for groups holding foreign hostages.

Glass was abducted by 14 gunmen in the suburban Beirut district of Ouzai on June 17 along with Ali Osseiran, son of Lebanon's defense minister. Osseiran was released a week later.

A group calling itself the Organization of the People's Defense claimed July 7 that it had kidnaped Glass and said he was a CIA spy.

Last month, Glass' captors issued a videotape in which the journalist read a statement saying he was a CIA agent. U.S. officials said that the statement was false and that Glass had been forced to read it.

American Jeremy Levin, 55, Beirut bureau chief of Cable News Network who was kidnaped March 7, 1984, escaped his captors in east Lebanon's Bekaa Valley 11 months later. Two British journalists and a free-lance French photographer also said they escaped their captors in Lebanon.

Related story, Page 8.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World