A man has spoken of the terror he experienced during an armed robbery aboard Amazon Discovery in Peru on July 14.
Douglas Stone and his wife Kathy were on an Avalon Waterways holiday that included a three-day cruise from Iquitos in Peru. Twenty one Americans, six Australians and two New Zealanders were also on the cruise. The Stones boarded the 44-guest capacity Amazon Discovery at about 3pm on July 13, and “after a nice evening” settled into their cabin for the night. At 3:30am they were awakened by a harsh pounding on their cabin door.
“I could hear a crew member speaking broken English to open (the door),” Mr Stone wrote in a Facebook post after returning to the US. “I did. There was no peep hole in the door and the hall light was out … I immediately had one English speaking crew member in my face telling me we ‘had to cooperate’ … two revolvers, one over each shoulder of the crew member (were) shoved into my face. It got worse after that. They went through everything within our room. My wife was forced to give up her 40-year-old wedding (ring) along with other items.”
The bandits (reportedly eight) had reached Amazon Discovery via a small craft. Mr Stone said the atmosphere became incredibly tense when the thief began demanding access to the cabin’s safe: “I was almost shot because when they asked me for the safe combination, I gave them the correct combination, but the scared crew member translator kept putting the number one at the start. They finally had to use a master key to get into our safe.”
Mr and Mrs Stone were then lead from their cabin towards the stern of the ship.
“A guy at the end of the hallway was holding an eight-inch fillet knife,” Mr Stone wrote. “The fillet knife scared me far worse that the two .38 calibre revolvers (well-worn, chrome-plated, old, wooden handle, appeared to be a Smith & Wesson emblem on the side – I got a real good look at one revolver during all of this) being pointed at me.
“Having someone decapitate me and drop me off the side of the ship was not something I was going to (allow). Fortunately, for whatever reason, the guy with the gun told us to turn around and go towards the bow of the ship instead. Once we got to the bow end, we were told to sit down on the floor and stay put.”
The pair, from Columbus, Ohio, watched as a pirate broke into two more cabins.
“Anything and everything of any value that anyone had on the ship was taken,” wrote Mr Stone. “These guys had complete control of the ship for about two hours. Every passenger on board was robbed. After they left (at about 4:30 am), we all huddled upstairs in the absolute dark for three additional hours until the police arrived.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) told Cruise Passenger: “The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was in contact with a number of Australians to offer consular assistance following a robbery on board a tourist boat in Peru.“
It is understood no Australians were injured during the robbery.