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Bodies of Southern California couple killed by pirates now aboard U.S. aircraft carrier

February 22, 2011 |  7:19 am

Scott and Jean Adam in an undated photo. The bodies of four Americans -- including a yachting couple from California -- have been taken on board the U.S. carrier Enterprise. They were killed Tuesday morning by pirates who had hijacked their vessel and taken them hostage.

Four U.S. Navy ships had been shadowing the couple's yacht after it was taken over by the pirates last week off the coast of Oman. Pirates had said it was headed to Somalia.  While negotiations were underway to gain the release of the Americans, U.S. forces responded to gunfire aboard the Quest. The four Americans had been shot.

According to the U.S. military, the Enterprise is now off the Horn of Africa.

For nearly a decade, Scott and Jean Adam's home had been the 58-foot custom-made sloop the Quest. Although they docked every so often in Marina del Rey to pick up mail and see friends, the couple spent most of their time sailing to far-flung locales such as the Galapagos Islands, Tahiti and New Zealand.

Posting photos and information on their website, they raved about their travels aboard the Quest. "We've decided to ... explore Fiji like petals on a flower," they wrote about their 2007 trip to the South Pacific.

Now, "This is all of our worst nightmares," said Scott Stolnitz, a friend of the couple.

Stolnitz, who with his wife also sails around the world, said he and Scott Adam had previously discussed the dangers of piracy when navigating the Arabian and Red seas.

Scott Adam, 70, had considered shipping the boat to avoid the dangers, a costly option, but decided instead to join a rally of yachts heading to the same place, Stolnitz said.

The couple, however, apparently decided to break off from the Blue Water Rally, which organized and supported the group of boats headed toward the Mediterranean.

"We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest," said Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of Central Command.

Four U.S. Navy ships had been shadowing the Quest after it was taken over by the pirates, Mattis said. While negotiations were underway to gain the release of the Americans, U.S. forces responded to gunfire aboard the Quest. The four Americans had been shot, Mattis said.

Two of the pirates were killed by U.S. forces and 13 captured, Mattis said. After boarding the Quest, military personnel found the bodies of two other pirates. The incident occurred about 1 a.m. EST.

RELATED:

Four American hostages killed by Somali pirates during rescue attempt

O.C. yachting couple among hundreds held by Somalia pirates, official says

-- Tony Perry and Corina Knoll

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