US ship captain is freed when snipers kill pirates
(04-12) 15:32 PDT MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) --
U.S. Navy snipers opened fire and killed three pirates holding an American captain at gunpoint in a lifeboat, delivering the skipper unharmed and ending a five-day high-seas hostage drama on Easter Sunday.
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The pirates were pointing AK-47s at Capt. Richard Phillips and he was in "imminent danger" of being killed when the commander of the nearby USS Bainbridge made the split-second decision to order his men to shoot, Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said.Phillips' crew, who said they had escaped the pirates after he offered himself as a hostage, erupted in cheers aboard their ship in Mombasa, Kenya. Some waved an American flag and fired flares in celebration.