Monday, April 13, 2009
Three gunshots. All three fatal. Fired in the dark by three specially trained U.S. Navy SEALs as the pirates' boat rocked in the water off Somalia.
"Phenomenal shots -- 75 feet away," said Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, who oversees the region.
A senior defense official told CNN that each was a shot to the head.
Gortney, in an interview Monday with CNN's "American Morning," described critical steps that led to the rescue of U.S. Capt. Richard Phillips, who was taken by pirates after they boarded his merchant ship, the Maersk Alabama, east of Somalia on Wednesday.
Four pirates had been holding Phillips in a small lifeboat, which had run out of fuel. "One of their pirates had left the lifeboat, needed medical attention and jumped onto one of our inflatable boats," Gortney said.