Captain Rescued, 3 Pirates Killed
Captain uninjured after brief firefight
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2009 2:33 PM CDT
The Maersk Alabama arrives in Mombasa, Kenya, with the 19 remaining crew members aboard, Saturday April 11 2009.   (AP Photo / Sayyid Azim)
camera-icon View 6 more images

(Newser) – The American sea captain held hostage by Somali pirates has been rescued after a brief firefight, with three of his captors killed and one in military custody, CNN reports. US Navy snipers saw a pirate with "an AK-47 leveled at the captain's back" and opened fire, a military official said. Capt. Richard Phillips later boarded the Navy ship, where he was resting and "in good health. He's showered up and in a clean set of clothes."

Phillips called his wife Andrea in their hometown of Underhill, Vt. from on board the Navy ship. "She was laughing while she was on the phone with him," a spokeswoman said. "She was saying his trademark sense of humor was still very much intact, and he's in great spirits." A fourth pirate had surrendered earlier and is being held by the Navy.