-- Media personalities in Australia say they received calls today from hostages in the Sydney cafe standoff.
Ray Hadley was hosting his radio show on Australia’s 2GB station when he says a hostage called in on his show’s open line. Hadley did not put the hostage on-air live -- worried about the risks -- but says he spoke to the hostage in four conversations before police negotiators took over.
"I could hear the hostage-taker in the background issuing instructions to him on what to request me to say on air,” Hadley told ABC News.
With the armed gunman nearby, the hostage couldn’t say much over the phone, especially nothing negative, Hadley recalled.
After speaking with the male hostage, Hadley consulted with police. A negotiator eventually arrived to his studio, picking up the conversation.
Other hostages, meanwhile, spoke off-air to the negotiator, Hadley said.
Hadley says the situation became “heart-wrenching” when a mother called into his show, saying her 18-year-old son was being held hostage inside the café.
“She was in a situation where she was feeling terribly bad for the hostages, and then she suddenly realized her own boy was inside there, being held hostage,” Hadley said.
Mark Burrows, a reporter with 9 News Australia, said he also spoke with two hostages who called his newsroom directly.
“The first one, as I spoke to her, the gunman was actually reeling his demands through her, a long list of demands,” Burrows said. “I think No. 1 was that he wanted to speak to someone with authority, but mainly the prime minister, and there were quite a few other of those demands.
“I asked her whether she was OK, she seemed reasonably relaxed.”
About an hour later, another hostage called, Burrows said, with the second hostage in a more “agitated” state.
“Again she had the gunman hovering over her, making these demands through her,” Burrows said. "That lady was far more anxious, far more agitated, because she got the feeling nothing was being done, but that’s not the case."