Pirate Attack Survivors Make Their Way Home Amid Hugs, Cheers

Celebrations raged in two countries overnight with the captain and crew safe.

ByABC News via logo
April 13, 2009, 3:15 AM

April 16, 2009 — -- From the blaring of "Sweet Home Alabama" on the decks of the USS Bainbridge in Mombasa, Kenya, to the tearful reunion of the crew members and their families in Maryland, the captain and crew who fought off pirates in a hostage standoff last week have gotten closer to the place they've all wanted to be -- home.

While Capt. Richard Phillips, still onboard the Bainbridge this morning, has yet to set foot on American soil since he was rescued from the clutches of four barefoot Somali pirates, his crew landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland this morning and were immediately embraced by their tearful families.

"It was emotional seeing my little boy," Ken Quinn told "Good Morning America" after he was welcomed by wife Zoya and his children. "He loves me so much and misses me so much, it was just -- you know how it is -- good to see him."

His 3-year-old son doesn't yet know what a pirate is, but he will -- when he's old enough.

"I'll tell him the story from start to finish," Quinn said.

The crew arrived shortly after midnight to cheers, hugs and smiles. They waved as they left the plane and onlookers waved American flags.

It has been an odyssey for the entire group that has taken them halfway around the world and back again.

"I felt like I was a worker doing my job and now it doesn't make sense," Quinn said. "It's good and everything. If you're a movie star you expect that stuff every day but just Joe Blow on the street it doesn't happen to us."

While third mate Colin Wright told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview Wednesday that he didn't want the experience to keep him from sailing the world's oceans, Quinn isn't so sure -- at least not without some protection.

"We'd have ... some kind of Plexiglas thing," Quinn said. "It would be a good idea to be armed."

But he recognizes that even that kind of protection could up the ante for the pirates, who have so far have not been interested in killing their hostages.

"We start shooting at them and they might start killing more seaman," he said.