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Quinns return home to cheers at SRQ airport

SARASOTA — Clapping and cheering greeted Maersk Alabama 2nd Mate Ken Quinn of Lakewood Ranch as he entered the terminal of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport following a flight from New York this afternoon.

Quinn, his wife Zoya, son Jason and infant son Justin arrived home aboard a JetBlue flight just before 4 p.m.

“This is just something I never expected. I’m just a regular working guy,” Quinn said while holding son Jason and speaking to friends and media.

A small crowd of people was there to welcome him home. He stood before them and the media, and talked about keeping in touch with the crew that faced Somalia pirates and escaped.

Near where Quinn stood and talked, two women in a security-checkpoint line yelled, “Welcome home!”

Quinn turned around, smiled and waved.

Bob Cozzi, of Bradenton, who was on the flight with the Quinns, said, “When we first got on the plane, they made an announcement that he was returning home. Everyone applauded. Everybody was delighted and smiling. It was a real pleasure.”

Quinn and his family planned to attend a welcome-home parade in Lakewood Ranch at 5:30 p.m. today.

Quinn said he couldn’t wait to spend more time with his family and ride his motorcycle. The past few days, he said, have been “pretty hectic.”

He has been in New York City doing a round of national news interviews after returning to the U.S. last week from Africa.

He plans to continue his career.

“I can’t change now. I’ll go back,” he said. “I’m hoping that we have something more to fight back with.”

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