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Four Americans Killed on Yacht Hijacked by Somali Pirates

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Old 02-22-2011, 01:08 PM
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Default Four Americans Killed on Yacht Hijacked by Somali Pirates

Four Americans aboard a yacht hijacked by Somali pirates have been killed, Fox News has confirmed.

U.S. forces responded to gunfire aboard the yacht Quest at approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday, but discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors. Despite attempts to save their lives, all four hostages died of their wounds.

“We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest,” said Gen. James N. Mattis, U.S. Central Command Commander in a news release.

Two pirates died during the confrontation and U.S. forces found the remains of two other pirates already dead aboard the vessel. Thirteen pirates were captured and detained, along with two already in custody. A total of 19 pirates were involved in the hijacking.

The yacht Quest was hijacked on Friday off the coast of Oman and U.S. forces had been closely monitoring the vessel.



Undated photo shows Scott and Jean Adam.
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Vice Admiral Mark Fox, Commander of Centcom's Naval Forces, explained the timeline of events during a press briefing with Pentagon reporters. According to Fox, there was "absolutely no warning" before the hostage situation turned deadly.

On Monday two pirates boarded the USS Sterett (one of four U.S. Naval ships monitoring the situation) to conduct negotiations for the release of the American hostages. They stayed on board overnight and it's unclear if any ransom was offered before the killing took place.

At 8:00 am local time Tuesday morning a rocket propelled grenade was fired at the Sterett from pirates on board the Quest. The shot missed, but immediately after gunfire erupted inside the cabin of the Quest.

"Several pirates appeared on deck and moved up to the bow with their hands in the air in surrender," Fox said. That's when SOF approached on small boats and boarded the yacht.

When U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) soldiers -- from a classified Navy SEALS unit -- reached the yacht, they found two pirates had already been killed by small arms fire. As they went below deck there was an exchange of fire that killed one pirate. The other pirate was killed by an SOF member who used a knife in close combat, Vice Adm. Fox said.

The SOF found some of the Americans still alive, but all four soon died of their wounds. Vice Adm. Fox called it the deadliest pirate incident to date.

"We did everything we could," said a senior military official. "But I don't think our guys would see this as a good outcome."

There is no word yet where the pirates in custody will be taken for trial. They could go to Kenya or they could come back to the US. There is a precedent for both.

The organizers of an international yacht race called the Blue Water Rally said the Quest had been taking part in the race but left it Feb. 15 to chart an independent course from India to Oman.

The Quest is owned by Scott and Jean Adam, a couple from California. The two other Americans on board were Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, of Seattle, Washington.

At the Seattle Singles Yacht Club, where Riggle and Macay were well known, Joe Grande said the two were "great sailors, good people. They were doing what they wanted to do, but that's small comfort in the face of this."

The Adams have been sailing the world with a yacht full of Bibles since 2004. The hijacking of their yacht came two days after a Somali pirate was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a New York court for the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. That case ended when Navy sharpshooters killed two pirates holding the ship's captain.

Pirates have increased attacks off the coast of East Africa in recent years despite an international flotilla of warships dedicated to protecting vessels and stopping the pirate assaults. Multimillion-dollar ransoms are fueling the trade, and the prices for releasing a ship and hostages have risen sharply.

Pirates currently hold 30 ships and more than 660 hostages, not counting the attack against the Quest. Before this incident there were less than 10 pirate related deaths this year.

The best-known case of Westerners being held hostage in Somalia was that of Paul and Rachel Chandler, a British couple held for 388 days. The two, who were captured while sailing in their private yacht, were released in November.

The Adams -- who are members of the Marina del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, Calif. -- run a Bible ministry, according to their website, and have been distributing Bibles to schools and churches in remote villages in areas including the Fiji Islands, Alaska, New Zealand, Central America and French Polynesia.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for additional updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:23 PM
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I saw that this AM. What were they thinking sailing in that area? Very sad loss for the families.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:49 PM
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Have not heard this till now. Been following news on the capture. How can these pirates be hundreds of miles offshore in them skiffs? Sad but dangerous waters.

The Quest was hundreds of miles off of Oman on Feb. 18 when the pirates attacked. The four Americans were apparently killed today.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:50 PM
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Have not heard this till now. Been following news on the capture. How can these pirates be hundreds of miles offshore in them skiffs? Sad but dangerous waters.

The Quest was hundreds of miles off of Oman on Feb. 18 when the pirates attacked. The four Americans were apparently killed today.
They use a "mothership".
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:54 PM
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I saw that this AM. What were they thinking sailing in that area? Very sad loss for the families.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:55 PM
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Default Mothership !

Why don't we sink the motherships ?
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:00 PM
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Toss the pirates in the water at the spot and let them swim back to shore. Lets show them the precedent that if you pirate, you die!
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:09 PM
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I saw that this AM. What were they thinking sailing in that area? Very sad loss for the families.
That is what I thought but it really isnt that close to Somalia...
Its over 1200 miles away.
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:11 PM
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Default Our Leadership !

I don't want to get into a political debate,but where is our proper response and prevention ?
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:13 PM
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Very Sad

If I was the President I would make an international address letting it be known that we were taking back our sense of patriatism that the American Flag once stood for. If any ship flying the stars and stripes is boarded than the country whose pirates boarded it will be wiped off the map forever. No questions, no second chances and no remourse.

We could do away with Somalia in an afternoon - **** International Political Correctness and just destroy the country. We're spending more money and resources trying to deal with them than we would leveling them.

That being said, why the hell would anyone go sailing, much less in that area....
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