Evidently, the captain of that ship attempted to escape and was in the water, with a U.S. naval warship nearby, the U.S.S. Bainbridge, when the priates went in after the captain and re-captured him.
The hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips, entered the water overnight, and was in the water for a short period before being brought back into the lifeboat by the pirates, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter.
The official said that Navy P-3 aircraft and drones launched from the U.S.S. Bainbridge, a Navy warship near the lifeboat, have since flown overhead and observed Captain Phillips “safe and sound” back on the vessel. The official also said he did not know whether the Navy could have rescued the captain during the brief period he spent in the water.
“I couldn’t tell you the standoff distance of the ship or whether they could have taken direct action,” the official said.
Were we not expecting someone to even attempt an escape? Why weren't our people ready to help the captain? While not there and not knowing the specifics, it seems to me in any hostage situation, the "good guys" are usually prepared to help any of the hostages that manage to break free of their captors.
Phillips was believed to be trying to swim to the USS Bainbridge, a naval warship that is in communication with the gunmen holding Phillips off Somalia's coast, the official said.
The pirates jumped into the water, recaptured him, and returned him to the lifeboat, according to the official.