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Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 2:46pm

MAERSK CAPT RETURNS

POSTED: Friday, April 17, 2009 - 11:07am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:23pm

Captain Richard Phillips heads home after high-seas rescue...

Captain Richard Phillips is expected to receive a hero's welcome when he returns home to Vermont later today. Phillips was rescued after Navy Seals killed three pirates holding him hostage in a lifeboat off the coast of Somalia.

Captain Richard Phillips walked off the USS Bainbridge in Mombossa, Kenya and boarded a chartered plane, bound for home in Underhill, Vermont.

There he will be reunited with his wife and two children, along with a proud community waiting to welcome their hometown hero. Yellow ribbons line the rural roads and the fence outside the Phillips' home.

It has been a long and harrowing journey.

The Maersk ship Phillips and his crew of 19 were navigating through the dangerous waters off the east African coast was hijacked by Somali pirates more than a week ago.

The 53-year-old captain offered himself as a hostage and the pirates held him for ransom in this enclosed lifeboat for five days.

On Sunday, Navy Seals seized an opportunity to move in after seeing one of the pirates pointing a gun to Phillips' back. Snipers shot three pirates and rescued Phillips.

In Underhill, Phillips' wife Andrea and family got word on Easter Sunday.

Days later, relieved and exhausted, Mrs. Phillips gave an emotional thanks to the public.

The ships crew arrived Thursday at Andrews Air Force Base to tearful reunions with family and cheers

Recounting the drama on the high-seas when they fought back and injured one of the teenage pirates.

Maersk Second Officer Ken Quinn says "we bound him up and he was bleedin' all over so, I got first aid."

Now all safely on U.S. soil, the crew now waits, along with Phillips' family for their captain's return home.

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