HEBRON - A Connecticut father is thrilled after hearing that his son is free after being a captive of Colombian rebels for years.

George Gonsalves was mowing his lawn in Hebron Wednesday when a neighbor ran up and told him his son was free.

"It's been a rollercoaster ride, but I don't think I ever gave up hope," said Goerge Gonsalves. "There were things along the road that gave me encouragement and I was certainly always hopeful that this day would happen, and now it's happening and it seems like a miracle, but it's happening."

Marc Gonsalves had been held hostage by rebels in Colombia since 2003, when the drug surveillance plane he was on went down in a rebel-held jungle. He and the two men captured with him were the longest-held American hostages in the world.

Colombian officials rescued the men and former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt Wednesday.

George Gonsalves called the rescue "great, great, great," news. He says the family had been frustrated because the government has been giving them no information about any efforts to secure the release of the hostages.

Marc Gonsalves' mother lives in Bristol but is out of the country.

Colombian officials say Gonsalves and the other Americans are being flown back to a military hospital in Texas.