Captain Recaptured by Pirates After Swim Escape Attempt

Family say hostage captain's sense of humor could keep him alive
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2009 6:51 AM CDT
Unidentified neighbors of Capt. Richard Philips tie a yellow ribbon on the fence in front of Philips' home in Underhill, Vt., Thursday, April 9, 2009.    (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
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(Newser) – The American captain held hostage by Somali pirates jumped into the ocean last night and tried to swim to a nearby Navy destroyer, but pirates swam after him and pulled him back, CNN reports. He was not believed to be harmed in the attempt, a US official said. The four bandits, meanwhile, told Reuters by satellite phone they would fight back if the Navy strikes. "We are not afraid of the Americans," said one.

Despite the tough talk, maritime officials believe the desperate pirates will soon try to cut a deal for safe passage. FBI negotiators are continuing to work for the release of Capt. Richard Phillips—whose family describes him as a daredevil whose sense of humor might help him survive. "I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s had those guys chuckling a few times,” his brother-in law told the New York Times. “He’s got a quick wit.”