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American captain rescued from pirates by US forces

By A staff writer / April 12, 2009



The US captain held hostage by Somali pirates was freed Sunday, according to CNN, in what appears to be the first rescue effort by US naval forces operating in the Indian Ocean. Until now, US ships acted as escorts but did not initiate a rescue operation.

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A US official told CNN that American Capt. Richard Phillips is uninjured and that three of the four pirates holding him hostage in a lifeboat are now dead. The fourth Somali pirate, and Captain Phillips, were taken aboard the USS Bainbridge.

There are no details yet of the rescue mission.

On Friday, French commandos launched a rescue mission after Somali pirates took control of a private yacht with five French citizens. One of the French captives was killed in the raid, the rest were rescued. That was third time French forces have freed its citizens from pirates in the past year.

US crewmen aboard the Maersk Alabama, which arrived safely in Mombasa, Kenya, Saturday night, said that Captain Phillips was "a hero" for exchanging himself for his crew. For more details of how the crew escaped capture, click here.

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