Four Americans hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Oman have been killed by their captors, US defence officials say.

The US military said its forces trailing the vessel had responded to gunfire heard aboard but found all the captives shot when they arrived.

The yacht S/V Quest, hijacked on Friday, was owned and sailed by Scott and Jean Adam of California.

Also killed were two US passengers, Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle.

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