Four Americans were killed in a gunfight aboard their yacht that was hijacked by Somali pirates on Friday off the coast of Oman.
According to a statement from the United States military negotiations to secure the release of the two American couples were underway when gunfire broke out aboard the 58-foot yacht early on Tuesday morning.
American soldiers deployed from a nearby warship responded to the shooting and fought their way aboard the SV Quest killing two pirates and capturing 13 others. The remains of two other pirates who had died earlier were also found on board the boat.
“The forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors. Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds,” said the statement from the US military.
The dead hostages are believed to be the yacht’s owners, Scott and Jean Adam, a retired couple from California who have been sailing the world delivering Bibles to remote communities, as well as Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, both from Seattle.
“We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest,” said Gen James Mattis, commander of US Central Command in Florida.
Since the Quest was pirated four US Navy warships have been shadowing the yacht, aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf and guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett and USS Bulkeley.