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