Earlier this week, an armed robbery took place on the Caribbean island of Roatan, Honduras. The victims, who have published an account of the events on Facebook, were cruising onboard the Carnival Conquest at the time of their call in Roatan.
The attack comes only weeks after the United States State Department issued a travel warning to Honduras, warning tourists, “the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high.” The travel warning also states crime along roads, specifically carjacking, remain a serious threat.
The account of the attack was published on Facebook by Jeff Smith, who had rented a car on the island with his wife and three young daughters. According to the account, the family was driving down an “off the path” road and were suddenly fired upon by a masked gunman on the side of the road. Smith reportedly reversed the car to distance himself from the gunman and unintentionally careened off of the road. The gunman then chased the car down, weapon drawn, and robbed the family of their money, cell phones, cameras, and other electronics.
Smith reports that no injuries were sustained from the attack.
Upon returning to the Carnival Conquest, the family was interviewed by the security staff, offered both medical and psychological assistance, and were given free internet and phone usage to disable their credit cards and notify their carrier of the phone thefts. Smith also states the Carnival Conquest’s captain invited the family to the navigational bridge and purchased a bottle of wine for Smith and his wife.
Violence can occur in any port of call, and it is important for passengers to remain vigilant of their surroundings at all times. Many areas, especially back road areas, of underdeveloped islands can be very dangerous and risky areas to travel through. Many cruise lines warn their passengers of the dangers of traveling off of the beaten path in specific ports, but dangerous situations can arise anywhere at any moment.
The full account of the incident is published below:
“This past Thursday, during our Carnival Cruise port call, while driving on a beach access road on the northeast side of the island, a masked gunman sprung from the bushes about 30 feet in front of our car. With no warning he aimed and fired his semi-automatic weapon, striking the front hood of our rental vehicle. My wife and our three daughters, ages 8, 14, and 15, were with me. My immediate reaction was to put the car in reverse and try to back down the gravel/dirt access road to distance my family from the gunman. I wrecked the rental after driving approximately 75 yards in high speed reverse. The gunman pursued us on foot with pistol drawn. I got out of the car and when the gunman arrived he proceeded to rob us of cash, iPhones and camera. The encounter lasted approximately three minutes, and for most of that time he had his gun pointed either at me or at my daughters.
The gunman was 20-25 years old (best guess), brown native skin, black hair, about 5’8” tall, and weighed approximately 200 lbs. He spoke almost perfect “Island English”.
Carnival has responded by providing comfort to my family, and has handled this incident in a caring and professional manner. The local police are investigating.
Roatan has only one major east/west running paved road. Many of the beaches and tourist destinations are located away from this paved road, and must be accessed by driving on un-paved secondary roads through rural “jungle” areas. Use extreme caution when off the main path, especially when in a highly noticeable rental car.”