Family back in US after escaping Brazil pirates with surfboard
The American family of four that survived a pirate attack in the Brazilian Amazon is back in the U.S. after using a surfboard to escape captivity and float across a river.
Adam and Emily Harteau had been traveling by van in South America for five years before the attack on them and their two daughters, ages 6 and 3, in the country’s Pará state late last month.
The California couple’s disappearance prompted worries that they have been kidnapped in the remote region, though they now say they managed to find safety with the board later seen in their smiling photos.
“We escaped on a surfboard and were on the run for our lives until we chose to be spotted by a large passenger ferry on our 4th day in the wilds,” they posted from their Instagram account Our Open Road.
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The Harteaus, who had been on their way home to California after their years-long adventure, declined to give an interview to the Wall Street Journal, which gave an account of what happened Thursday morning based on police and locals.
Armed pirates had been holding the family for hours before they reportedly made a break for it, grabbing a survival kit and the surfboard from their van.
Police arrived after the robbers had already left, and the Americans were also nowhere to be seen amongst the crew that remained.
The Journal reported that they made it through six miles of jungle over three days, and avoided passersby for fear of future danger until eventually deciding to use the surfboard once again to reach the ferry of Dinei dos Santos.
“They climbed onboard and rushed to a corner,” dos Santos told the newspaper, adding “I think they only wanted to feel safe.”
Reported injuries to the family included sunstroke, an allergic reaction, dehydration and a host of insect bites.
Our Open Road said Sunday that they are still processing the “traumatic events” after being taken to the Amazonian gateway city of Belém and traveling back to the U.S.