Former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt arrived here Friday from Baghdad with three Americans and 171 other Westerners whose freedom he obtained from Saddam Hussein.
One of the Americans, Miles Hoffman, 33, of Columbus, Ga., shot in the arm Sept. 5 by Iraqi forces in Kuwait, was immediately taken off the plane and taken to the U.S. Air Force Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany, for a checkup, Air Force Capt. Tom Gilroy said.A second American, Don Swanke, 66, of Westlake Village, Calif., also was taken to the hospital in Wiesbaden, 25 miles west of Frankfurt, for a precautionary checkup, Gilroy said. Swanke lost 33 pounds during his captivity.
The airport rang out with the cheers of the hundreds on hand for the arrival of the former hostages as the German jetliner touched down.
Relatives who hadn't seen each other since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2 wept and embraced as they emerged from the plane. Some held signs reading, "Thank you, Mr. Brandt." Others departed the plane carrying children; one woman hugged Brandt.
"Good riddance," Hoffman told TV cameras at the airplane boarding counter in Baghdad as he clutched his U.S. passport and boarding documents. His arm was in a cast and he seemed to be in pain.
Swanke and his wife, Brenda Swanke, were presented to reporters by U.S. authorities.
Also on the plane were nationals from Britain, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Holland, Portugal, Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg, the German carrier Lufthansa said. Earlier reports of a Canadian aboard could not be confirmed. The airline's manifest only listed nationalities, not names.
Brandt said upon his departure that he had discussed with Saddam efforts to achieve a durable and solid settlement for the problems of the Middle East.
At the Baghdad airport, Brandt told a news conference he was carrying proposals for settling the 3-month-old gulf crisis.
"I need a weekend to go through my notes and put together what I have," Brandt said, refusing to elaborate.
Hoffman, a financial analyst with the Kuwaiti government at the time of Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion, was shot when Iraqi soldiers tried to force their way into his Kuwait City apartment, according to reports from Columbus.
The bullet shattered a bone in his left forearm and he was hospitalized for about a week, the reports said.