Four American Hostages Killed By Somali Pirates

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According to the U.S. military, four Americans being held hostage by pirates off Somalia have been killed. They were on a yacht called Quest, carrying bibles, sailing past the Somali coast. It's not clear what their mission was. The U.S. Navy had responded, surrounding the captured vessel with warships. While the military negotiated with the pirates, gunfire was heard and the military went on board. Two pirates were killed and 13 were captured; all four hostages were found to be dead, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command.


We're continuing to follow many breaking stories today on a remarkable day in the world. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi addressed his nation on television earlier today. And also today, four Americans who were aboard a yacht captured by Somali pirates were shot dead. U.S. Navy warships and helicopters had been shadowing the boat. American forces had been attempting to negotiate the hostages' release when they heard gunfire and moved onboard.

Let's listen to Vice Admiral Mark Fox, who is commander of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Vice Admiral MARK FOX (Commander, 5th Fleet, U.S. Navy): At 8 o'clock this morning local time, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired from the Quest by the pirates, towards the Sterrett. The Sterrett was approximately 600 yards away from the Quest. Immediately thereafter, gunfire also 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. U.S. Naval reaction forces closed in on the Quest in small boats and boarded the yacht.

As they responded to the gunfire, reaching and boarding the Quest, the U.S. sailors discovered that all four hostages had been shot by their captors. Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four of the American hostages died of their wounds.

INSKEEP: You hear the vice admiral's voice break just a bit there as he says that the four hostages were shot by their captors. That happened earlier today, we're told about 1 o'clock in the morning Eastern time - so, during the day, off the coast of Oman, which is where these Somali pirates had apparently been operating with this yacht. And we are told that all four of the Americans on board that yacht are dead.

The Quest, the name of the ship, was owned by Jean and Scott Adam. They were a couple from California. They'd been sailing around the world since December 2004. It is said that they had a yacht full of Bibles.

A friend interviewed by the Associated Press over the weekend said that they had said that Scott Adam wanted to do two things: travel the world and serve God.

The other two Americans onboard were Phyllis McKay and Bob Riggle. They're both of Seattle, Washington. And again, according to the United States military, they were found dead onboard that boat, the Quest, after U.S. military officials heard gunfire as they attempted to negotiate with Somali pirates. Some of the pirates are dead. Others have been captured.


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