COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Pirates hijacked a Danish sailboat with four adults and three children aboard as they were crossing the Indian Ocean, Denmark's government said Monday.
Most hostages captured in the pirate-infested waters off East Africa are professional sailors, not families. Pirates are not known to have captured children before.
The Danish Foreign Ministry said the sailboat sent a distress signal on Thursday. A Danish couple, their three children — ages 12 to 16 — and two adult crew members, also Danes, were on board.
On Tuesday, four Americans were killed after their yacht was seized by Somali pirates while the Americans were on an around-the-world trip. U.S. military commandos stormed the boat to try to rescue them but said that they found the four had already been shot by the pirates. They were the first Americans slain by pirates since a wave of attacks began six years ago.
Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said she was "deeply concerned" about the situation and expressed her sympathies to the Danes on the boat and their relatives.
Danish news agency Ritzau, citing Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Charlotte Slente, said the boat was believed to be heading toward Somalia.