Sister: Journalists Briefly Crossed into North Korea
Freed Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee Arrive Home in L.A. (KTLA-TV / August 5, 2009)
- Journalists return from North Korea
- Freed American Journalists Celebrating at Home in L.A.
- Media Descends on Journalists Returning From N. Korea
- U.S. Journalists Detained Along North Korean-Chinese Border
- Freed Journalists Enjoy Emotional Reunion
- Questions Remain About Release of Journalists
- Families Happy to Have Freed Journalists Home
See more videos »
Lisa Ling says her sister Laura Ling and fellow journalist Euna Lee crossed into North Korea for "maybe 30 seconds" before they were captured and detained. Ling told CNN that once they crossed over, "everything just sort of got chaotic."
Ling says her sister has a very powerful story and plans to write an editorial explaining what happened and how she was captured.
Both journalists are spending time with their families after being pardoned and receiving an emotional homecoming earlier this week.
The privately owned Boeing 737 -- carrying Lee, Ling and former President Bill Clinton -- touched down around 5:50 a.m. Wednesday at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.
About 10 minutes later, Lisa Ling was seen stepping onto the jet. The aircraft was then brought into a hangar where tearful family members ran up and immediately hugged the two women as they exited the plane.
Lee emerged from the jetliner first and was greeted by husband Michael Saldage and 4-year-old daughter Hanna. She hugged her daughter and picked her up before all three embraced in a crushing hug.
Ling embraced her husband Iain Clayton as teary family members crowded around.
She then spoke to the media, thanking former President Clinton and his team for ending their harrowing ordeal.
Thirty hours ago, Ling said, "We feared that any moment we could be sent to a hard labor camp."
Ling said when the two women were moved to another location and saw Clinton standing before them, they were "shocked."
"We knew instantly in our hearts that the nightmare of our lives was finally coming to an end. And now we stand here, home and free," she said.
Former Vice President Al Gore spoke briefly, however, Clinton did not. Instead, his office issued a statement saying he is "very happy" that the two were freed. Clinton called their plight a "long ordeal," and said he was gratified that they "are now home and reunited with their loved ones."
Gore said President Obama and "countless members of his administration" were "equally involved in this humanitarian effort."
Lee, 36, and Ling, 32, were granted a pardon Tuesday by North Korea following rare talks between Clinton and the reclusive leader Kim Jong Il. They had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for entering the country illegally.
Both journalists were working for San Francisco-based Current TV, a media venture co-founded by Gore.
In a statement posted online, the families of Ling and Lee said they were "overjoyed by the news of their pardon."
"We are so grateful to our government: President Obama, Secretary Clinton and the U.S. State Department for their dedication to and hard work on behalf of American citizens. We especially want to thank President Bill Clinton for taking on such an arduous mission and Vice President Al Gore for his tireless efforts to bring Laura and Euna home. We must also thank all the people who have supported our families through this ordeal. It has meant the world to us. We are counting the seconds to hold Laura and Euna in our arms."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also hailed their release.