American ship captain Richard Phillips has returned to his home state of Vermont, five days after a U.S. Navy operation freed him from pirates who took him hostage off the coast of Somalia.
Family members greeted Phillips Friday as he arrived in Burlington, Vermont. Phillips thanked US Navy SEALs (special forces) for saving his life, saying they did the impossible. Phillips said they were heroes, and that he was not a hero.
Phillips was the captain of the "Maersk Alabama" when pirates attacked the 17,000-ton container vessel April 8th as it was sailing several hundred kilometers off the coast of the northern Puntland region of Somalia.
The 19-member crew retook control of the ship several hours later, but the pirates took Captain Phillips off the vessel and held him hostage on a lifeboat for several days.