Two of the four hostages: Phyllis Macay and Rob Riggle / photo: Joe Grande/ AP file
By Tray Wetherell
Four Americans sailing around the world aboard a private yacht were executed Tuesday after U.S. negotiators onboard naval warships took a turn for the worse earlier that day. The two couples Robert Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, Washington, and the owners of the yacht Scott and Jean Adam of Marina del Rey, California were on a journey around the world when pirates boarded and captured their yacht the Quest off the coast of Oman.
According to military sources, negotiations broke down and soon after one of the 17 pirates appeared above deck and fired a Rocket Propelled Grenade at one of the U.S. warships, missing the ship. Soon after the RPG attack, gun shots were heard coming from the yacht.
Navy Seals responded quickly rushing to the yacht finding some of the pirates above deck with their hands up. Upon boarding and going below deck they made a gruesome discovery that all four hostages had been shot. After killing two pirates who hid below deck, one in a knife fight, rescuers performed emergency medical treatments to try to save the hostages, but failed.
“Our colleagues called us this morning, that they were being attacked by a U.S. warship,” Mohamud, a Somali pirate, told Reuters. “We ordered our comrades to kill the four Americans before they got killed.”, a claim that the U.S. military strenuously denies. The leader further went on to say that reprisals are likely as the money that was invested into the pirate operations exceeded $110,000.
Questions remain as to why the hostages chose to take a route that brought them into the perilous waters well known to be infested with Somali pirates. The U.S. State Department had issued routine warnings about Somali and Arabian coastline, and with pirate events happening all too often, naval officers admit that the sheer size of the area they have to patrol is daunting.