US Family Who Fled Boat Did So After Pirates Departed

Cops aren't sure why they fled after pirates left
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2017 7:26 AM CDT
Family Hid in Jungle for 3 Days After Pirate Attack
The Harteau family.   (

More details have emerged about a traveling American family's escape from a boat that was hijacked by river pirates in Brazil—including the fact that they apparently escaped after the pirates departed. Authorities in the northern state of Para say Adam and Emily Harteau and daughters Colette, 6, and Sierra, 3, are being treated in the city of Breves for insect bites and dehydration after spending three days hiding in the jungle after leaving the boat, the Wall Street Journal reports. They say the family and their Volkswagen van were on a barge that was hijacked in a dangerous Amazon delta area by pirates who abandoned the vessel after seizing goods including the family's cell phones. Crew members were eventually able to call police, but the Harteaus had vanished by the time they turned up.

Police say the Harteaus have told them they were worried about their safety so they hid in the jungle with some food and water—and the surfboard they had left the barge on. Villagers reportedly found them on the surfboard, initially thought to have been driftwood, and contacted a passenger boat that picked them up. Para Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Andre Cunha has told local media that he's not entirely sure why they left the boat, but they may have been worried about police because of the small amount of marijuana that was found in their van, the Los Angeles Times reports. Officials say the amount was too small for charges to be considered. The family plans to return to California soon after having been on the road since 2012, documenting their travels in the blog Our Open Road. (More Brazil stories.)

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