Sunday, April 12, 2009

Breaking News: Pirates Killed/Captain Rescued!

(CNN) -- The American captain of a cargo ship held hostage by pirates jumped overboard from the lifeboat where he was being held, and U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed three of his four captors, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation.

Capt. Richard Phillips was helped out of the water off the Somali coast and is uninjured and in good condition, the official said. He was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, a nearby naval warship.

At the time of the shootings, the fourth pirate was aboard the Bainbridge negotiating with officials, the source said. That pirate was taken into custody.

Maersk Line Limited, owner of the cargo ship that Phillips captained, issued a statement saying it was informed at 1:30 p.m. by the U.S. government that he had been rescued. John Reinhart, president and CEO, called Phillips' wife, Andrea, to tell her the good news.

Crew members from the ship, the Maersk Alabama, were "jubilant" when they received word, the statement says.

"We are all absolutely thrilled to learn that Richard is safe and will be re-united with his family," Reinhart said. "Maersk Line Limited is deeply grateful to the Navy, the FBI and so many others for their tireless efforts to secure Richard's freedom."

"We look forward to welcoming him home in the coming days," Reinhart added.

Earlier Sunday, Maersk said the U.S. Navy had informed the company that it had sighted Phillips in the lifeboat where the pirates were holding him.



Bahrain (CNN) -- U.S. Navy snipers fatally shot three pirates holding an American cargo-ship captain hostage after seeing that one of the pirates "had an AK-47 leveled at the captain's back," a military official said Sunday.

The captain, who'd been held in a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean since Wednesday, was rescued uninjured, Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney told reporters.

Capt. Richard Phillips' ship, the Maersk Alabama, was stormed by pirates 350 miles off Somalia on Wednesday morning. He was "resting comfortably" on the USS Boxer after his rescue Sunday night, according to the Navy.

Phillips contacted his family and received a routine medical exam after his rescue at 7:19 p.m. (12:19 p.m. ET), the Navy Central Command said.

"The captain is in good health. He's showered up and in a clean set of clothes," Gortney said in a telephone news conference from Navy Central Command in Bahrain.

U.S. forces moved to rescue Phillips after seeing him in imminent danger on the lifeboat, Gortney said. A fourth pirate was negotiating Phillips' fate aboard the nearby USS Bainbridge.

"While working through the negotiations process tonight, the on-scene commander from the Bainbridge made the decision that the captain's life was in immediate danger, and the three pirates were killed," Gortney said. "The pirate who surrendered earlier today is being treated humanely; his counterparts who continued to fight paid with their lives."

The three pirates, who were armed with AK-47 rifles, were killed by shooters who were aboard the Bainbridge, Gortney said

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