NT firey taken hostage

Night­mare in Colom­bia


A DAR­WIN fire­fighter got more than he bar­gained for while hol­i­day­ing in Colom­bia af­ter be­com­ing a hostage to armed thieves.

Brent Row­ley told ABC Dar­win Ra­dio yes­ter­day that he and a num­ber of other guests at a hos­tel on the re­mote Costeño Beach were held up by six to eight armed men in the mid­dle of the night.

Mr Row­ley was sit­ting in the bar area of the hos­tel try­ing to stream the Mel­bourne Cup race last Tues­day when the armed men came in de­mand­ing wait­staff and guests hand over their pos­ses­sions.

“I just sort of froze a bit as other peo­ple were in­di­cat­ing to me I could see the fear on their faces,” he said.

“I just sort of turned the phone off and slipped it into my pocket and they came over and took it off me and sort of went around to the guests in the area and took their gear.”

Af­ter he handed over his phone the men re­turned point­ing a gun at him de­mand­ing he re­move the lock on his phone.

“There wasn’t a lot of yelling, you weren’t get­ting pushed phys­i­cally, while it was pretty threat­en­ing it was at the same time rea­son­ably calm,” he said.

He said peo­ple on the beach watch­ing the storm and those sleep­ing nearby were wo­ken and taken into the bar to hand over their valu­ables.

“We all got lined up again ... that was a bit of a fright­en­ing mo­ment for peo­ple be­cause they didn’t know why they wanted us to line up,” he said.

“I was a bit un­sure of what was go­ing on, be­cause I know a bit of Span­ish but it wasn’t ter­rific so a lot of the in­struc­tions I was miss­ing.” Af­ter the guests and wait­staff were pat­ted down, they were ush­ered into the kitchen and told to stay there as they would return af­ter vis­it­ing other hos­tels on the beach.

“When we were in the kitchen to­gether and they were go­ing through the hos­tel, it was an iso­lated place, you just didn’t know how long they were go­ing to be there and what they might want to do,” Mr Row­ley said. “There was just no help at hand. They could have been there all night do­ing what­ever they wanted.”

He said af­ter about an hour the hos­tel man­ager ven­tured out to see if the men had left and it was de­cided that it was safe to go back to the dorms.

He said he waited un­til he’d al­most left Colom­bia be­fore telling his fam­ily.


Dar­win firey Brent Row­ley was taken hostage and robbed at gun­point while on hol­i­day in Colom­bia last week

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