Four Americans that had their boat hijacked by Somali pirates were shot and killed by their captors on Tuesday.
The U.S. Navy was trailing the American’s captured yacht, the Quest, when they heard gunfire. They quickly boarded the vessel and attempted to save the hostages but they died from their wounds.
A member of a U.S. special operations force killed one of the pirates with a knife as he went inside of the yacht.
The violence on Tuesday started when a rocket-propelled grenade was fired from the yacht at the USS Sterett. The RPG missed the ship and small arms fire was then heard coming from the yacht.
Two of the Somali pirates, including the one who was knifed, died during the confrontation. Thirteen other pirates were captured and detained.
Negotiations had been under way to attempt to get the pirates to release the two couples on the pirated vessel Quest.
The slain Americans were identified as Jean and Scott Adam, of Los Angeles, and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, of Seattle, Washington.
The yacht “Quest” was the home to the Adams who had been sailing around the world since December 2004 with a yacht full of Bibles.
Their boat was hijacked on Friday several hundred miles south of Oman.
The Adams ran a Bible ministry 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.
Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, said: “We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest.”
The Somali pirates are said to be businessmen looking for a ransom for their hostages but have become increasingly violent.
Pirates demand huge ransoms, which is reportedly shared among investors and pirates. The funds are often spent on drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes.
“This incident is a clear message and alarm that it’s time the world community quickly steps up to stop these pirate criminal activities. They should be treated mercilessly,” Gen. Yusuf Ahmed Khayr, the security minister in the northern Somalia region of Puntland, stated.
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