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Honduras: Laguna El Diamante, Rio Tinto - Yacht Attacked and Skipper Killed

By Sue Richards last modified Dec 16, 2010 01:43 PM

Published: 2010-12-16 13:43:35
Topics: Piracy Reports 2010
Countries: Honduras

As reported in the Rio Dulce Chisme

Boater, daughter attacked by pirates

Candian boater Milan Egrmajer of s/v Adena was reported killed by pirates off the Honduran coast around 9:30 p.m. last night (Friday, Dec.3 2010).

He and his daughter Maida were headed from Rio Dulce to the Bay Islands then on to Panama.

The attack was reported to have occured in Laguna El Diamante, Rio Tinto off the coast of Tela, Honduras.

La Prensa online publication of Honduras reported that bad weather forced them to seek refuge in Laguna El Diamante near where a previous attack occured last week (read report here).

Subsequent reports following an interview with surviving daughter Myda by TV station CBC:

She said the four men approached their sailboat, which was waiting out nasty weather in a lagoon, and asked for tools to help repair their boat.

Egrmajer said the men asked for a screwdriver and jackknife. One of the men juggled the knife and when Milan Egrmajer, 58, reached toward them, he was shot.

"When he leaned over, I guess one of the other guys felt threatened and he pulled out a handgun and shot him in the chest four times," Myda told CBC. "I couldn't believe it. I can still hear the gun in my ear.

"When I saw my dad fall, I went out to be like "Dad, are you OK?" It didn't cross my mind that someone had just shot him."

The Canadians had been forced to seek shelter when bad weather hit four days into a trip that was supposed to last three months, entering the lagoon despite reports of pirate activity in the area. "We took precautions, but at that point we were afraid something worse could happen being out there in the weather, so we took that chance," said Myda, who had not sailed before.

They intended to leave the following morning, but decided to stay an extra day when the weather did not let up, she told CBC. That's when they were approached by the pirates, who she said "didn't really look like nice people."

Myda said she chased off her father's killers with a flare gun, but was then left to fend for herself with no sailing experience. "My father had got the flare gun and put it behind me, so I picked it up and yelled at them and waved the gun at them," she told the CBC. "I think they thought it was real — thank God because they took off fairly quickly."

She was able to operate the radio on the sailboat, but had to wait 17 hours for help.

A rescue boat was dropped from a passing freighter, but the sail boat was nearing a cliff when its engine died and she had to leave her father's body and get in the rescue boat. His remains have since been recovered, cremated and returned to Canada on Friday.

Myda was taken to neighbouring Belize by her rescuers and returned to Canada on Sunday, arriving in the family's hometown on northern Ontario's Manitoulin Island on Monday.

Boaters planning to cruise toward the Bay Islands of Honduras are warned to avoid the areas of Puerto Escondido and Laguna El Diamante.

Milan was a quiet spoken, very affable man who was popular and well regarded by the boating and resident community here.