Cool principal tells of ordeal

A German school principal who was held hostage by a heavily armed convict for several hours on Tuesday before being freed unharmed said yesterday that training he had received for crisis situations helped keep the schoolchildren away from danger. Joachim Voegeding said that his first reaction to witnessing his kidnapper’s bag of explosives was to avoid more hostages being taken. His three goals were to avoid a worsening of the situation, get the kidnapper away from the students and convince him to surrender, he said. Constantinos Arabatzis, a convict on furlough, took the principal hostage as he demanded 5 million euros to settle debts in Germany. The principal gave his kidnapper money for toll stations and petrol. Arabatzis had on him a Kalashnikov rifle, six hand grenades, a pistol and 3 kilos of explosives.