LOS ANGELES (CBS NEWS) — The four Americans aboard a yacht hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia are dead, CBS News has learned.

US Central Command spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Michael Lawhorn tells KNX What Happened

Hijacked last Friday off Oman, the Quest was being piloted toward the Somali coast – and was being shadowed by a U.S. Navy warship.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that gunshots aboard the yacht were heard, and the warship took action.

All 4 Americans were dead, killed apparently by their captors.

There were more than a dozen pirates on board, some dead and others captured, Martin reports.

The Americans were Scott Adam and his wife, Jean, of Marina del Rey, Calif.; and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, both of Seattle.

Adam, in his mid-60s, had been an associate producer in Hollywood when he turned in a spiritual direction and enrolled in the seminary a decade ago, Professor Robert K. Johnston of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and a friend of Adam’s, told The Associated Press.

“He decided he could take his pension, and he wanted to serve God and humankind,” he said.

Johnston and Adam worked together to start a film and theology institute. Adam also taught a class on church and media at the school.

Since 2004, the Adams lived on their yacht in Marina Del Rey for about half the year and the rest of the year they sailed around the world, often distributing Bibles in remote parts of the Fiji Islands, Alaska, New Zealand, Central America and French Polynesia, Johnston said.

© 2011 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

Comments (35)
  1. Ed Rooney says:

    Someone please explain to me why the Navy didn’t just execute all of the pirates on the spot and dump their bodies in the ocean. What possible justification is their to let these animals live?
    Treat them like the garbage they are.

    Peace to the deceased couples and their friends and families.

    1. DAR says:

      These pirates are nothing but a bunch of ruthless thugs who should be shot on site, and hung out to dry like a piece of beef jerky..

    2. Chris says:

      Bravo. I could not have said it better.

    3. Joyce says:

      I agree.
      Their pirates, an eye for an eye. Isn’t that what we learn in movies and books? Let them die at sea.

  2. Rob says:

    It is about time the U.S. and our allies put an end to the extortion, kidnapping and murder being allowed in that corner of the world. Seems that before in our history pirates threatened and we put ah end to the piracy. Let us not hear of any more hijacking and murder.

  3. James says:

    The US will not kill these pirates because as long as we are afraid and upset the US can justify building more battle ships and using our tax dollars to fund the war machine. Why are we becoming a joke?

    1. anngell jones says:

      Didn’t the US Navy kill the pirates that hijacked the Mersk ship. So don’t dare say we don’t shoot to kill and that we aren’t on the offensive. You have the memory of a fly if you don’t remember that!!

  4. sam says:

    Kill the pirates. No reason why the world puts up with this kind of behavior.

  5. TYLER KOLING says:


    1. the people says:

      I don’t know what you mean. Are you saying the US Navy are cowards?

      1. a grandmother whofears for her children says:

        No but our wonderful money grubbing politicans are.

  6. Robert says:

    Why doesn’t the larger shipping companies put a sniper on every ship. When approached by pirates who always seem to be in a small craft with an outboard motor, shoot the motor. Leave them to fend for themselves on the open sea. When no more pirates return home to land, few will want to go out to sea.

    1. Robear says:

      the pirates have fast boats equipped with grenade launchers and even rocket launchers. One sniper couldn’t possibly protect a large ship. I feel for the families of these seafarers, but to steer a pleasure craft in those pirate-infested waters is more than plain stupid, it is suicide!

      1. Carl Cass says:

        Fast boats….?? A trained sniper would wipe out 12 pirates in less then that many minutes. Granted, being on the ocean does not make for an easy target. It would make the pirates think twice if the witnessed one of their own getting peeled off as the boarded another ship. Not a bad thought Robert.

      2. Carl Cass says:

        I agree with you as well Robear, that is no place for Amercicans to be, you don’t see any other races getting wiped out for going into the wrong places, regardless of what their purpose was for being over there. If you want o pass the word of God, there are plenty of people that will and may need to listen to you in the U.S.

  7. icecream says:

    This makes us want to turn Somalia into a giant, deep crater in the earth. There is no real government there anymore. Put a permanent end to those warlords.
    My deepest, most sincere sympathies extend to the families and friends of the victims. May the victims rest in peace ……and the murderous pirates rest in pieces.

  8. Jimmy Cruz says:

    All those PIRATES should be executed!!!!!! God Bless the 4 Americans. RIP

  9. angela says:


  10. Big Frank says:

    Sure, go right ahead.

  11. John from the Westside says:

    This isn’t a “blame the victims” thing, but…

    Why in God’s name are ANY Americans sailing around Somalia? It’s not like this is a new thing. EVERYONE knew this is a rampant problem around there — for YEARS. It just seemed like a bit of hubris to somehow assume being American would grant them some special immunity (if anything it would make them bigger targets).

    Still… condolences to the families.

  12. maria dziubla says:

    John from the Westside: You answered your question with a question. In God’s name. That’s why. Foolish and tragic.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Obama and his administration will do everything to protect these Somalian animals as they do all other terrorists … mark my words.

  14. Allison says:

    It’s the Americans fault … just ask our great leader, Obama. He’ll probably include his apologies in his next speech to the Somalian people and offer them taxpayer money, because of course, they’re entitled.

    The American victims and their families are in our prayers. The Navy should be commended, but should have been allowed to execute these animals.

  15. gerry meyers says:

    Us citizens should not be afraid to go anywhere if the us took a stand and started killing these pirates they would stop being out there they suffer no consquences so why should they stop lets take a stand . kill them.

  16. Matt says:

    These Somali pirates are obviously criminals, with worldwide notoriety. So this begs the question: Why would anyone sail their yacht anywhere even NEAR this area? They should’ve known better. If you know there are violent predators nearby and you stray into their area of operations, STAY AWAY. And traveling safely should not be restricted to US citizens only, Gerry Meyers. People in general deserve to be safe. But there are dangerous people out there and although it’s tragic these folks were murdered, they should have known better than to knowingly sail into a warzone.

  17. SamieKaye says:

    May these people rest in peace as well as those that have been killed before them by pirates on the high seas. As a side note, Secretary of Defense Gates, I believe earlier last year wanted to downsize the Navy fleet stating there is no reason to have war ships on the high seas as the need no longer exists as it once did. Makes you ponder our leadership yet again since the problem with piracy has been on-going for some years now. Also Somali is known as a dangerous area to travel…not overlooking the sadness of the deaths of those killed…but WHY put yourselves in harms way! Just doesn’t make sense to me! But neither does war and I’m closely associated with the military.

  18. tgfov says:

    Mr. President what are the intentions of the US Government so these four deaths were not in vain, don’t turn another cheek and be seen as a weak President and nation under your guidance. The murders need to accounted for, the American people need justice and assurance weakness will not make us all targets.

  19. wpb says:

    I seem to see a good plan forming here. Let’s all get a yacht and dress up as old innocent looking people. When the sub-humans approach BLAM! Let loose with all guns. This was a trick which worked well during both world wars, if I remember. I think the allies called their’s Q-ships. The German’s also had them but I do not remember what they were called. It’s self defense and on the high seas. My condolences do go out to the families involved here. It’s time we went proactive rather than reactive. Do you think Roosevelt, Kennedy, or Johnson would overlook this. I think not.

    1. bugman says:

      right on! where can we sign up?or me?

  20. Julie says:

    Where was the navy? The navy should have been on their tail instead of in their shadow when they were in the area where pirates are known to attack. Shame on them to letting these people fall prey to the pirates! This could have all been prevented if they had done their job.

    1. Robear says:

      The navy is there to protect freighters, and has its hands quite full doing so, thank you very much. For civilians to wander into those waters with their fancy pleasure craft – and assume that they’ll be protected by the almighty US Navy – is plain dumb. Don’t want to blame the victim, may they rest in peace, but you’d never see me there rowing my dinghy…

  21. Robear says:

    I feel for the families of these murdered seafarers. This being said, to sail a private yacht into those waters is plain stupid. Having a US Navy warship “shadow” the yacht for days is a waste of our taxpayer money and of our tenuous resources in the region.

    150 – 200 years ago our country engaged in a few “pirate clean-up” operations in areas where our merchant marine was threatened by those scalawags, such as the Barbary Coast. Why not do a sweep of the Somalia coast, once and for all? Oh that’s right, it would be an act of war if we entered their territorial waters. We’d never do that (unless Somalia was oil-rich, of course)…

  22. Frank says:

    The bottom line is…NO ONE SHOULD BE THERE!!!

  23. David says:

    A few points: Oil companies such as Shell and Chevron have totally polluted the once rich fishing waters off the Somali coast where most of these “pirates” were fishermen. Now their lively hood has been ruined by mega corporations that care only about raping the world for their own profit. So with no other way to make a living these people turn to terrorism, which is fostered much more by poverty than any ideological way of thinking. Yes, piracy is wrong, they should be punished, the American yacht should have not gone near those waters. But trace the problem to it’s source – Corporate control of natural resources, with absolutely no concern for a citizens well being – American or not.

  24. akhaadmin says:

    HI, I am trying to contact anyone associated with these two families to carry on a bigger project where they left off, distributing Bibles, with a bigger ship. Please contact at akhalife at gmail dot com

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