Local woman mourns cousin killed by pirates

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A local woman is still in shock after hearing that her cousin was among those killed by pirates in Somalia.

Carol Kloess was working when her husband called her to say pirates killed Phyllis Macay and three other Americans onboard her yacht--The Quest.

Kloess couldn't believe it. The first thought that went through her mind was, "It's not true."

"I actually think I went into shock," said Kloess.

Kloess never thought the last time she'd see Macay would be on a computer screen. She looked at her cousin's online blog, which was how she kept track of her travels.

"This is Phyllis' blog. They would send a blog to anybody who was in their yacht club. And they would send a special one to family that would detail what they did," said Kloess.

Phyllis worked as an interior decorator in San Francisco, Calif.  She sold her design firm seven years ago to sail around the world with her life-partner Bob Riggle.

"I actually looked up to her because I thought, gosh, we all want to do that," said Kloess.

She remembers getting an email from Phyllis letting family members know she was about to sail into pirate territory...but not to worry.

They never imagined the "worst case" scenario would happen.

"I'm angry at the pirates because I don't understand. We don't understand. It's not in our realm of thinking. It's not in our lifestyle. We're not in that situation," Kloess said.

She remembers growing up with Phyllis and eight other cousins.

"As the baby of one of the babies, she always made me feel loved," Kloess said.

She knows her cousin wouldn't want her to cry.

"Phyllis would be very upset if we were sad over this because again, she was on the water, where she wanted to be. Could I live on a boat for five or six years...no. Could she? She loved it."

Copyright 2011 WSFA. All rights reserved.