American freed by North Korea arrives in US: TV

An American man held for five months in North Korea has arrived back in the United States, US television reported Wednesday, showing his plane landing at an airport in Ohio. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
An American man held for five months in North Korea has arrived back in the United States, US television reported Wednesday, showing his plane landing at an airport in Ohio. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - An American man held for five months in North Korea has arrived back in the United States, US television reported Wednesday, showing his plane landing at an airport in Ohio.

Jeffrey Fowle, 56, whose release was announced Tuesday, arrived at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, according to the television reports.

Television footage showed Fowle smiling as he descended from the plane with baggage in hand, being greeted by loved ones who embraced him on the airport tarmac.

Fowle entered the North in April and was detained after apparently leaving a Bible in the bathroom of a nightclub in the northern port of Chongjin.

Pyongyang has portrayed the decision to free the American as an act of high-level diplomatic largesse, saying the release was ordered by leader Kim Jong-Un following the "repeated requests" of US President Barack Obama.

However, the US State Department on Tuesday declined to provide any details of how Fowle's release was brokered, citing ongoing efforts to secure the return of two other Americans - Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae - serving hard-labor prison terms in the North.