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Hostage survivors prepare to leave Shanghai
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Australian hostage siege survivors leave a Shanghai hotel bound for Australia. The group of nine women, who were flanked by Australian consulate staff, did not comment to waiting media about their ordeal as they boarded a bus taking them to Pudong airport this afternoon.

The 10 Australian survivors of a fatal hostage siege in the popular tourist city of Xi'an were today preparing to leave Shanghai but have remained tight-lipped about their ordeal.

Nine of the group of 10, who were briefly held hostage yesterday when a lone-man armed with explosives boarded their tourist bus, did not comment to waiting media this afternoon as they left their hotel to board a bus that took them to Pudong International Airport.

The group is believed to be on a flight bound for Sydney.

The man attacked the group of Australian travel agents when they were visiting the northwest city of Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, famed as home of the Terracotta Warriors, before he was shot dead by a police sniper.

Susan Dietz-Henderson, the Australian consul general for Shanghai and other consulate employees flanked the group as they left their hotel in Jing'an District.

The hostage taker released nine of the hostages after boarding the bus about 10am yesterday.

Earlier today, consulate staff ushered a 48-year-old New South Wales woman out of the hotel along with the group's interpreter, who was also held hostage for several hours during the ordeal.

At about 2.30pm today consulate staff and a representative from the American consulate organized a dark green van with dark tinted windows to pick up the woman from a back entrance of the Shanghai Hotel.

There are unconfirmed reports that a member of the group has already employed the services of a celebrity agent to sell her story.

Some of the group looked tired and weary from the ordeal as they left the hotel at 3pm this afternoon.

But other members of the group broke out into applause, laughed and took souvenir pictures of a small contingent of media as they sat on the bus waiting to go to the international airport.

Australian media were today reporting that a friend of one of the hostages had said the women were shocked when the local worker boarded their bus.

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