According to U.S. military sources, American cruisers Scott and Jean Adam of the Marina del Rey-based Davidson 58 Quest, and their Seattle guests Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, were shot and killed yesterday by their Somali captors off the coast of East Africa. Although kidnapping sailors and commercial mariners is common in that area, this is the first time American captives have been killed, as they are normally held for ransom.
Military spokesmen explained that the captured sailboat was being shadowed by a U.S. Navy warship and negotiations were ongoing when a grenade was launched at the warship, followed by the sound of shots fired aboard the yacht. When U.S. reaction forces reached the yacht in small boats, they found that all four Americans had been shot. Two were already dead and the other two succumbed to their wounds shortly afterward, despite receiving medical attention. Two pirates died during the confrontation and 13 others were captured.
We may never know exactly why the Americans were killed, rather than simply being held for ransom. But the fact that the bodies of two additional pirates, who had been dead for some time, were also found aboard Quest, suggests that there was possible dissension within the group of captors.
Scott and Jean Adam, 70 and 66 respectively, had been actively cruising since 2004 and had intended to complete a full circumnavigation. We are deeply stunned by this horrible turn of event. Our thoughts go out to the families of these innocent victims.