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Iran Hostage Crisis: 444 days and 40 years later, a conversation with survivor Michael Metrinko

40 years ago, solidarity and celebration played out in Northeastern Pennsylvania as two of our own came home from Iran.

Ryan Leckey

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Published: 4:00 AM EST January 28, 2021
Updated: 9:36 PM EST January 28, 2021

On January 28, 1981, one of our area’s biggest signs of solidarity and celebration played out in Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

Bruce German and Michael Metrinko had just survived 444 days in captivity. 

Bruce grew up in Edwardsville. Michael was a native of Olyphant. Bruce died about a year ago. But tonight, 40 years after his release from captivity, Michael Metrinko takes us back to the scene in Olyphant, a time when his hometown gathered to celebrate his return after he lived through a nightmare that lasted for 444 days in Iranian prisons. 

Michael’s release and welcome home celebration brought out thousands. Students had the day off from school. Many people left work early. A nation’s prayers were answered. 52 American hostages were set free.

Now, this self-described “private man” Michael Metrinko, who rarely speaks to reporters about his time in captivity, invited Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey to his Pennsylvania home. It’s here where he opened up about that frightful, life-changing day when Iranians stormed the US Embassy and took him and 51 others hostage.

It’s a very dramatic story, and we want to let you know, it also includes some strong language. 

PODCAST FANS: In a special podcast interview with Michael Metrinko, he shares more stories about growing up in PA to his work in the Middle East. Plus, hear why the US Embassy takeover in Iran wasn’t the first time he was taken captive. Find the player at the bottom of this story.

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