Captain and crew to return to U.S.

April 14, 2009 at 4:15 PM

MOMBASA, Kenya, April 14 (UPI) -- Capt. Richard Phillips, who spent five days as a pirate hostage, will return to the United States on a chartered plane with his crew, the shipper said Tuesday.

In a statement, Maersk Line Ltd. said that Phillips and the other 19 members of the crew of the Maersk Alabama are expected to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington late Wednesday, The New York Times reported. They will fly from Mombasa, Kenya, where Phillips was reunited with the crew.

The Maersk Alabama was on its way to Mombasa with U.S. aid supplies last week when pirates attempted to seize the ship off Somalia. The pirates grabbed Phillips and retreated to an 18-foot lifeboat where they spent the next five days.

On Sunday, U.S. Navy sharpshooters killed three pirates. A commander gave the order to shoot when the pirates had a gun pointed at Phillips and appeared ready to kill him.

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