Reinforcements converge on lifeboat after captain’s failed escape

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Nairobi, Kenya (AP) - As reinforcements from both sides converge on a lifeboat floating in the Indian Ocean, there's word that the pirates holding an American sea captain want a ransom.

A Somali in contact with the pirates' leader on the ground in Somalia says the pirates are ready to kill Capt. Richard Phillips if they are attacked.

Last night, Phillips made a desperate attempt to escape, slipping over the side of the lifeboat and trying to swim away. The Pentagon says sailors on a nearby U.S. warship were able to see Phillips moving around and talking after his return to the lifeboat, and he's believed to be unharmed.

Meanwhile, U.S. Central Command says more U.S. warships are headed to the scene about 300 miles off Somalia's coast.

At the same time, pirates in control of four other hijacked ships are making their way to the area. There are Russian, German and Chinese hostages on those vessels as well as hostages of other nationalities.

The Somali contact says the pirates want to get Phillips to Somalia, where they will be in a stronger negotiating position and could escape onto land if attacked.

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