Hours after being kidnapped, Mexican authorities have said Alan Pulido escaped by punching his captor. The Olympiakos and Mexico striker was taken hostage on his way home from a party in the dangerous Tamaulipas state.
Mexican Prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla confirmed on Monday that Alan Pulido (pictured above, left) was rescued by state and federal forces shortly before midnight on Sunday.
The footballer, who plays professionally with the Greek giants Olympiakos, was kidnapped by four armed men late on Saturday as he returned home from a party with his girlfriend outside his hometown of Ciudad Victoria.
According to prosecutors, Pulido's girlfriend was allowed to leave unharmed, while the former national striker was taken to a two-story house. The kidnappers called Pulido's family twice to demand a ransom.
The 25-year-old escaped, however, after punching one of his kidnappers and snatching his cell phone.
"They traded blows. [The phone] belonged to the criminal. He takes it and calls [emergency number]) 066," Quintanilla told Imagen radio. "It all happened very quickly."
Pulido, who was also part of Mexico's 2014 World Cup squad, injured his right hand in the ordeal, after smashing a glass pane on a locked door as he fled. Wearing a bandage on his wrist to a press conference on Monday, Pulido said he was "very well, thank God."
Pulido later took to Twitter to thank the authorities for their help and to people for their prayers, which "helped us a lot during this terrible experience in our lives which we don't wish upon anyone."
Following Pulido's escape on Sunday, authorities arrested a man from the neighboring state of Veracruz in connection with the kidnapping. The 38-year-old also confessed to being a member of a gang, operating in Ciudad Victoria. Police are still searching for another three men in connection to the hostage-taking.
The state of Tamaulipas is notorious for kidnappings and murders, with some roads so dangerous that police sometimes escort travelers in protective convoys. More than 5,500 people have disappeared in Tamaulipas alone, out of a total of around 28,000 reported missing across Mexico.
ksb/jr (Reuters, AFP, AP)