A British couple kidnapped by pirates while sailing off the east coast of Africa fear that they could be killed within days, the Times of London reported.

Paul Chandler, 59, a retired quantity surveyor, and Rachel Chandler, 55, an economist, disappeared after heading from the Seychelles towards Tanzania in their yacht, Lynn Rival, on October 23, 2009.

In an interview with ITV News broadcast Thursday night Chandler said that he was “just existing in hope.”

“I’m afraid that they will just kill us and abandon us in the desert here,” Chandler said.

SLIDESHOW: British Couple Kidnapped by Pirates

The pirates had separated Chandler from his wife, who told him in their last phone call that she was giving up, and he likened their conditions in solitary confinement to the treatment of a captive animal.

“We tried to stay together and they threw us to the ground and whipped us and beat Rachel with the rifle butts and I was dragged off and taken to a different location,” he said.

“I was allowed to telephone her about 12 days ago. She said she was being tormented all the time and she said she was giving up.

“They’ve lost patience. They’ve set a deadline of three or four days. If they don’t hear then they say they will let us die.”

Clich here for more from the Times of London.