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Underhill Awaits Word on Captive Captain - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Underhill Awaits Word on Captive Captain

Richard & Andrea Phillips Richard & Andrea Phillips

Underhill, Vermont - April 9, 2009

From neighbors at the local sandwich shop in Underhill, to family on the other side of the planet, everyone is showing their support for Captain Richard Phillips, his wife Andrea, and their family.

"You know Italy calling for instance, and family in North Carolina, and people dropping food by, and Underhill neighbors you know," said Lea Coggio, Captain Phillips' sister in law. "Its very much appreciated from everybody."

Phillips was taken hostage by Somali pirates two days ago as he was in command of the Maersk Alabama, a shipping vessel on its way to Africa with food and other aid. Phillips and the pirates are on the ship's 28-foot lifeboat. The lifeboat has run out of gas and is drifting about 300 miles off the coast of Somalia. Officials say they were able to get food and water to Phillips. He's also been in communication with his shipmates thanks to a portable radio.

"The crew that has been in touch with him says his voice - it sounded like the normal Richard," Coggio said.

Andrea Phillips remained inside her home all of Thursday while neighbors and friends stopped in to offer support and tie yellow ribbons around trees. Meanwhile, miles away in Burlington, Mrs. Phillips' co-workers at Fletcher Allen Healthcare tied yellow ribbons on their badges in a show of solidarity.

"This is a symbol of hope and a sign of our support until Richard gets back on us soil," Joanne Rheaume said. "We just feel like a big family here. We pull together when we need to and when we can."

The Underhill community has also been pulling together for a guy they describe as a wonderful family man.

"I think any situation that's thrown at Richard he'll be able to handle it with ease and hopefully come out in the long run," family friend Rick Whitham said.

Bianca Slota - WCAX News

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