Rat Race Fleeing French Sailor: May Have Died From Rescuer’s Bullet

April 11, 2009

(ChattahBox)— Rescued hostages Chloé Lemaçon and her three-year old son Colin are safely flying home to France in a military aircraft, after being rescued from Somali pirates on Friday by an elite team of French commandos, but they will arrive home without father and husband, 28-year-old Florent Lemaçon. Sadly, Florent Lemaçon lost his life during the rescue operation that saved the life of his wife and child, as well as two friends.

French officials announced on Saturday that Lemaçon may have died by friendly fire, and many in France may now be second-guessing the French government’s decision to storm the 36-foot yacht, the Tanit.

Somali pirates hijacked the small yacht on April 4, off the northeastern coast of Somalia. After the pirates refused a ransom offer, and refused to release the mother and son in exchange for a French soldier, President Sarkozy on Thursday, ordered a rescue operation, involving 50 commandos and three French warships, which was aided by a German frigate.

Twenty additional commandos were parachuted from a Hercules plane into the sea. The warships disabled the Tanit’s sails, so the pirates couldn’t escape to their lawless pirate haven on shore. The situation worsened on Friday, as the vessel drifted closer to shore and the pirates were overheard saying they planned to bomb the yacht.

The military officials believed, a nighttime pirate speedboat was planned to whisk the hostages off the yacht to shore. Once on shore, the French military would have limited rescue options.

Sarkozy then ordered the commandos to storm the yacht. The entire operation was over in six minutes, resulting in two dead pirates, with three captured.

It’s believed, Lemaçon may have been shot, when the pirates shot their Kalashnikov assault rifles up through the deck, from the cabin below, and the French commandos returned fire.

French officials say the Lemaçons were strongly warned by a military French frigate, to stay away from the dangerous area. The couple wrote in their online blog, where they have been publicly chronicling their journey, that they were only warned to stay away from commercial fishing lanes.

Unfortunately, the young family’s gamble not to heed the warnings about pirates backfired with deadly consequences; when a gang of vicious pirates hijacked their small yacht.

Florent Lemaçon and his wife both quit their jobs and cashed in their savings to restore their 33-year old yacht, as a way to escape the stresses of a consumer orientated society and experience a once in a lifetime dream of sailing around the world.

Little did they know they would be escaping the everyday nuisances associated with the rat race, for a much more menacing hazard, awaiting them in the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean, which would cost Mr. Lemaçon his life and leave a young boy fatherless.

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One Response to “Rat Race Fleeing French Sailor: May Have Died From Rescuer’s Bullet”

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