11 Apr 2009

Hostage killed as France frees yacht off Somalia

9:01 am on 11 April 2009

A French hostage died, but four others were freed when French forces attacked pirates who had seized their yacht off Somalia.

In a statement on Friday, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said two pirates were killed in the operation and three others seized.

The sailing boat, the Tanit, which was carrying two couples and a 3-year-old child was seized by the pirates at sea on 4 April.

Mr Sarkozy's office said the child was saved.

French Defence Minister Herve Morin said the father of the child, Florent Lemacon, died during the rescue mission, which lasted a few minutes.

A military official said Mr Lemacon was in the cabin at the time and it was not clear if he was killed in the crossfire or deliberately shot by one of his captors.