SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- They were four adventure seekers who loved the sea and wanted to see the world. Friends said they were meticulous and planned for any dangers, but even that couldn't prepare them for the Somali pirates who stormed their yacht and took their lives.
The boat's owners, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, along with Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were shot to death early Tuesday, after pirates took them hostage on Friday about several hundred miles south of Oman.
Macay's niece, Nina Crossland, told reporters Tuesday that her aunt was "a very smart and avid sailor."
"I think she was smart enough and planned ahead and prepared to not be in this type of situation," she said, visibly shaken and holding back tears.
The Adams had been sailing full-time on their 58-foot yacht, the Quest, since December 2004 after retiring. They often travelled with friends, and on this trip were joined by Riggle and Macay.
Mariners were warned about traveling around the Horn of Africa because of the risk of pirate attacks. The four sailors traveled with a large flotilla to stay safe earlier in the trip, but left the group at the time of the attack, said Crossland.
The pirates shot the four after firing a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. warship, one of several vessels tracking the hijacked boat over the weekend. Fifteen men were captured.