MOMBASA, Kenya - An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a swift firefight that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, U.S. officials said.
Capt. Richard Phillips' crew, who said they escaped after he offered himself to the pirates as a hostage, erupted in cheers abroad their ship docked in Mombasa, Kenya, waving an American flag and firing a flare in celebration.
The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet said Phillips was resting comfortably on a U.S. warship after receiving a medical exam.
The Navy said Phillips was freed at 7:19 p.m. local time. He was taken aboard the Norfolk, Virginia-based USS Bainbridge and then flown to the San Diego-based USS Boxer for the medial exam, 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said.