Kidnapped Louisiana Boat Captain Returns Home; Family “Overjoyed” (KPEL Exclusive)
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) — A south Louisiana resident returned home late Monday after pirates kidnapped him and an engineer from a ship off the coast of Nigeria. A source close with one of the kidnapped individuals spoke exclusively with KPEL's Brandon Comeaux to discuss the ordeal.
"The pirates boarded, and they were asking, ‘Where are the Americans? Where are the Americans?’" said Ryan, relaying the first-hand account he heard from "Tom," the boat's kidnapped captain.
Although the pirates released the vessel and its 8 Nigerian deckhands, its captain and chief engineer were taken to shore with the kidnappers, Ryan explained.
They were held hostage for four days, but they weren't mistreated, Ryan said. When "Tom" tripped and scratched his head, he said his captors actually began treating him with special care. Although "Tom" had been led around with a gun to his back, he told Ryan he realized he wouldn't be harmed.
Pirates can be fined if they mistreat their captured, Ryan explained, and even risk death if the situation gets "extreme."
“At that point, he also took an initiative to kind of be a little brash," Ryan said with a smirk. "That’s his personality. He’s a little rough around the edges.”
Ryan said "Tom" and his crew were briefed on piracy before making the trip, "so he was able to handle himself quite well."
"Tom" told Ryan that he and the kidnapped engineer were stuck waiting while the pirates negotiated monetary deals with an negotiators in the U.S.
“From the sound of it, it was something out of a movie," Ryan said.
"Tom" said the men weren't released until someone dropped an undisclosed amount of money — which was packaged in a waterproof suitcase — into the water, where the pirates were able to retrieve it.
"The pirates who had them captive handed them off to some other group, who in turn, handed them off to the Nigerian Navy, (and) in turn handed them over to the FBI,” Ryan explained.
When the pair returned Nov. 11, Ryan described the family as "overjoyed," with hugs and tears "all around."
Now that "Tom" can go on with his life, Ryan said, "he does want to get the word out" about what can happen to anyone heading in that area for work, or even vacation.
“It’s one of those situations: ‘Oh, it’ll never happen to me,’" Ryan said. "Then it happens to you.”
To listen to the full, exclusive interview, CLICK BELOW: