Drone pilot recounts rescue mission to save 'Captain Phillips'
SEATTLE - A pilot, who was part of a daring rescue mission to save 'Captain Phillips' and his crew after Somali pirates attacked their cargo ship, shared his story on Saturday with visitors at the Museum of Flight where one of the aircrafts involved in the rescue mission is now on display.
"My team flying the ScanEagle located the Maersk Alabama," said pilot Andrew Lohmar.
In 2009, four pirates attacked the MV Maersk Alabama that was carrying a crew of 20 and Captain Richard Phillips.
The ScanEagle drone at the Museum of Flight is the actual aircraft that deployed from the USS Bainbridge to help with the rescue of Captain Phillips.
At times, Pilot Andrew Lohmar said the operation was exciting; other times, nerve-racking.
"We knew what was going on. We knew that it was a risky, dangerous situation," said Lohmar.
During the rescue, NAVY seal snipers opened fire and killed three pirates holding Captain Phillips hostage. The shell casings from the bullets that killed the pirates are on display at the Museum of Flight.
"I think for a lot of us on board we weren't sure what was going to happen and (Navy SEAL snipers) didn't have a need to tell everybody what their plans were so we were just kind of going about our normal operations and it came about pretty suddenly for most of us," said Lohmar.
Lohmar's team didn't realize how much visibility the situation had attracted around the world until the mission ended.
"It was a big matter of pride for myself and our team and for our program and we were really glad that we were able to help," said Lohmar.
"This gives us a lot of visibility but the reality is these teams operate all over the globe. We've had teams in Iraq and Afghanistan for years and years that did a lot to contribute to saving the lives of Americans all over," said Lohmar.