Friday, February 23, 2007

Tourist kills mugger with bare hands

I'm not posting this to scare you, but it is important to remember that there are dangers to traveling just as there are dangers at home. While stories like this should not keep people from traveling, travelers do need to keep in mind that just because you are on vacation in paradise you you are not in utopia. Crime exists everywhere. Some short reminders and tips for traveling safely:

Never go anywhere alone at night, if you must go out, go out in groups and know where you are at and where you are going.

Don't go on romantic walks along the beach at night in the Caribbean or deserted beaches anywhere.

Don't make it obvious that you are a tourist like flashing around your guidebook, camera, iPod, expensive jewelry and money.

Tell friends and family where you are going and leave names and numbers of where you are.

Don't leave valuables in your rental car-especially not the trunk!

Ask the hotel if you can keep your valuables in their office safe deposit box not your hotel room. Make sure you document all items with management.

If you know you aren't going to need it, don't take your passport with you when you go out. Think ahead as to when you may possibly need it-like going on a day trip to another country.

Anyone else have ideas?

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - An American tourist who watched as a U.S. military veteran in his 70s used his bare hands to kill an armed assailant in Costa Rica said she thought the attempted robbery was a joke — until the masked attacker held a gun to her head.

"I thought it was a skit. But then he pointed the gun at my head and grabbed me by the throat and I thought I was going to die," Clova Adams, 54, told The Associated Press by telephone Friday from the Carnival Liberty cruise ship.

The assault occurred during a ship stopover Wednesday in Limon, 80 miles east of San Jose, Costa Rica's capital.

Adams was with 12 American tourists who hired a driver to explore Costa Rica for a few hours. They were climbing out of the van to visit a Caribbean beach when three masked men ran toward them, she said. One held a gun to her head, while the other two pulled out knives.

Suddenly, one of the tourists, a U.S. military veteran trained in self defense, jumped out of the van and put the gunman in a headlock, according to Limon police chief Luis Hernandez.

Hernandez said the American, whom he refused to identify, struggled with the robber, breaking his collarbone and eventually killing him. Police identified the dead man as Warner Segura, 20. The other two assailants fled.

Afterward, the tourists drove Segura to a hospital, where he was declared dead. Sergio Lopez, a Red Cross auxiliary, examined Segura's body and said he died from asphyxiation.

Lopez also treated Adams for a panic attack.

"She was very nervous after the assault, but she had not been physically hurt," Lopez said.

The U.S. Embassy confirmed the account, but refused to release the name of the American who defended the group, citing his right to privacy.

Costa Rican officials interviewed the Americans, and said they wouldn't charge the U.S. tourist with any crime because he acted in self defense.

"They were in their right to defend themselves after being held up," Hernandez said. He said Segura had previous charges against him for assaults.

The cruise ship delayed its departure until the group boarded the ship, The Carnival Liberty, which was set to return Sunday to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Adams spoke freely with the AP until a man who identified himself as her fiancee said they didn't want to talk to the media. He said the group might release a joint statement later and hung up the telephone.

Officials on the ship refused to pass an AP reporter on to other members of the tourist group, and another attempt to reach Adams' room failed.

Costa Rica has struggled with growing violence and crime in recent years. University of Kansas student Shannon Martin, 23, was stabbed to death in 2001 after she left a nightclub in Golfito, 105 miles south of San Jose.

Carnival Cruise Lines confirmed in a statement that one of the ship's guests had killed the Costa Rican assailant, but refused to name those involved.

"All of the guests involved, who had booked the cruise together as a group, have opted to continue with their vacation plans. Carnival is providing full support and assistance to the guests," the statement said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was on this Carnival Liberty cruise with my wife and we heard all about this incident.

I saw nothing in the news when we returned.

I e mailed Bill O Reilly and Greta Van Sustrum about the dangers of traveling to these areas. All I see on Fox is poor Anna What's Her Name. Let the poor thing rest in peace.

I told Fox that in Costa Maya, we went on a snorkling /beach adventure. On the long bus ride we saw extreme poverty all around us. We did not feel safe while snorking or while on the bus. I kept thinking what if??

I think Carnival and other cruise companies are trying to develop Costa Maya to make big bucks at their shops. Venturing on your own is very dangerous. Most tourists don't recognize it until it's too late.

I told Fox News we felt the same way on a bus tour to a coffee plantation in Costa Rica.

I wonder if there is a cover up going on in the travel industry?
The cruise companies are featuring trips to exoctic ports of call when they have created beautiful new shops to separate the tourists from their cash.