, MOMBASA, Apr 17 – American ship captain freed by US forces in a dramatic high seas rescue from his Somali pirate captors flew out of Kenya’s port of Mombasa Friday, an airport official told AFP.
Captain Richard Phillips, who arrived in Mombasa Thursday aboard a US navy warship that was behind his rescue last weekend, left for home in a private charter at 0203 GMT, said the official who requested anonymity.
Phillips was taken hostage on April 8 after crewmembers of the Maersk Alabama freighter overpowered the sea bandits who had attacked the vessel on its way to Mombasa.
His five days at the hands of the four pirates who held him on a life boat ended when snipers shot dead three of them, while the fourth survived and was aboard the USS Bainbridge that brought the skipper to Mombasa.
The 19 American crew of the Maersk Alabama, which docked at the Kenyan port on Saturday, had left for home on Wednesday.
Somali pirates have intensified attacks off the lawless country’s coast in recent days despite the presence of an international anti-piracy naval force and have seized at least 10 ships since the beginning of the month.