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Footage of McCain as POW is released

The film shows the Vietnamese releasing several U.S. captives.

September 12, 2008|From the Associated Press

STOCKHOLM — Previously unseen footage emerged Thursday showing Republican presidential candidate John McCain as a prisoner of war in Hanoi on the day his Vietnamese captors released him to the U.S. military.

Erik Eriksson, a former reporter from Swedish broadcaster SVT, told the Associated Press he found the video in the network's archives while conducting research for a book about his experiences as a Vietnam War correspondent.

A North Vietnamese photographer, working under contract with Eriksson, filmed the release.

AP Television News acquired exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the footage from March 14, 1973, and edited it into a 2-minute, 14-second video of a remarkable day in the life of the Republican candidate. SVT posted a 39-second clip on its website.

The AP footage begins with prisoners being led out of a Hanoi compound one by one, then climbing onto buses bound for the hand-over area. Each prisoner is dressed in a blue-gray, long-sleeved shirt and dark pants, and carries a beige jacket. As many as 16 U.S. POWs are seen.

McCain grimaces as he steps off a bus with other prisoners. He has a pronounced limp. He puts both feet on a step before continuing, but does not use crutches.

The prisoners stand in rows until a Vietnamese official calls their names.

McCain, like other prisoners, briskly walks up to salute and shake hands with U.S. military officers. Although only 37, he has white hair. Then the footage shows prisoners walking to a U.S. plane.

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On latimes.com

Prisoner release

See the McCain footage at latimes.com/release.

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