- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 12, 2009

DEVELOPING:

Capt. Richard Phillips jumped to freedom on Easter Sunday from the lifeboat where four pirates had been holding him captive off the coast of Somalia in a five-day stand off with the U.S. Navy.

Capt. Phillips, who has been described by his crew as a hero for leaving with four pirates in a lifeboat to save his ship, the Maersk Alabama, escaped by jumping overboard.

Before pirates could respond, U.S. forces killed three pirates still on the lifeboat and arrested a fourth pirate.

Capt. Phillips had been held on the lifeboat since Wednesday, when his ship's unarmed crew managed to regain control of their Danish-operated container ship from the Somali pirates.

“I would like at this moment to send my kind regards to the Phillips family,” Joseph Murphy, the father of the Alabama's second in command, Shane Murphy, said in a statement aired by CNN.

Shane Murphy took over as the Alabama's captain after Capt. Phillips abandoned ship and sailed the cargo vessle loaded with food aid to its original destination, Mombassa Kenya.

Shane Murphy remained on board with the rest of the crew as U.S. authorities continued their investigation.

“Our prayers have been answered on this Easter Sunday. I have made it clear throughout this terrible ordeal that my son and our family will forever be indebted to Capt. Phillips for his bravery. If not for his incredible personal sacrifice, this kidnapping and act of terror could have turned out much worse,” the elder Mr. Murphy said.

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