A Canadian woman survived an attack by pirates in Honduran waters, but her father was shot to death by the marauders.
Reportedly, Milan Egrmajer, 55, and Myda Egrmajer, 24, on Thursday night, December 2, 2010, were sailing in the direction of Belize initially, from the Island of Utila, Honduras, before heading for Panama, when an unknown number of armed persons reportedly attacked and boarded the vessel and shot Milan in the chest and abdomen area four times. The intruders reportedly fled the sailing boat when Myda located a flare gun and used it against them.
International media report that Myda and her father had been traveling in the direction of Belize when on Thursday night they decided to dock in a lagoon overnight.
According to the website at www.winnipegfreepress.com, “The details of how the woman managed to escape the attack, which occurred in a remote Honduran lagoon, are still a mystery to the local authorities investigating the crime. The Canadians had been sailing from the Honduran island of Utila in the direction of Belize when they hit bad weather on Thursday, Leonel Sauceda of the Honduran Public Security department told the Canadian Press.
“They wound up docking at a remote lagoon called El Diamante, which is known to boaters in the area as a place to overnight. ‘Sometime around 9 p.m. on Thursday,’ Sauceda said, ‘a small boat apparently arrived at the lagoon. It’s not clear what unfolded next, but Milan Egrmajer’s body was found inside the boat by authorities on Friday. His body had four bullet wounds in the chest and abdomen’.”
It was not until Friday, December 3, 2010, that the Belize Coast Guard was alerted about the incident and informed by personnel on a tanker named Tessa PG that they were in fact bringing the survivor, Myda, into Belize territory.
Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis, Operations Officer for the Belize Coast Guard, told us in an interview today that at approximately 11:45 p.m. Friday night they “received information from police control of an incident that occurred in Honduras waters referencing two Canadian nationals”.
“In regards to the [Belize] Coast Guard’s assistance in this entire operation”, he said, “the fact is that the vessel that retrieved one of the individuals [the survivor, Myda] was heading toward Belize. The [Belize] Coast Guard was asked to board the vessel [Tessa PG] and to confirm that the individual was on board that vessel, which is how we initially responded to the situation.”
According to Soberanis, neither the body of Milan nor his vessel was ever brought into Belize waters, only his daughter, Myda.
“I was able to speak to the captain of the tanker, who confirmed that indeed on board his tanker was a lady who is a Canadian national, and the situation that he stated to me was that the young lady and her father were on a sailing vessel heading toward Panama when they were hijacked by robbers.
“The father is said to have been killed, the young lady violated, and they were left adrift at sea where they were later retrieved by the tanker who brought them to Belize,” Soberanis told us.
Myda arrived in Belize around 5:00 a.m., and was immediately taken to receive medical attention; the results of medical tests and information on her medical state were not divulged, and she is said to have departed Belize today en route to Canada.
On Milan’s website www.adena.ca, which was last updated on April 15, 2010, he documents his sailing adventures and also advertises his consulting business, ECI, Egrmajer’s Consulting Incorporated, which he operated from off his sailboat.
On this website, his vessel is named as Adena, and is described as a “1977 Ericson 35 Mark II sailboat.”
Milan listed on this website his present and previous travels, which included an expedition from Marathon, FL, to Caye Caulker, Belize, on December 20, 2009; from Caye Caulker, Belize to Rio Dulce, Guatemala, and his last update, which was on April 15, 2010, from Rio Dulce to La Ceiba, Honduras.
Milan seemed to be a lover of the open seas, because he stated in his online journal that, “To me, water is a magnet. From the time I took my first steps, these steps were towards the nearest puddle. Springtime would find me with a long stick in my hand directing the run-off. Swimming started when I first fell in the lake.
“As I reflect, the greatest moments and memories include water – watching the coloured Niagara waterfalls, cooling off in the hot summer rain, staring into the watery depths while paddling canoes, watching romantic sunsets across an orange lake and just gazing past the horizon wondering what was out there that I could not see, and only imagine. It is this magnetism that has spun this sailing adventure. Trying to find out what lies beyond that horizon?”
Soberanis explained that the frequency of criminal activities on the waters has lately been on the rise and to counteract the danger posed to travelers, the Belize Coast Guard is in the process of receiving more equipment so as to effectively and efficiently apprehend these criminal elements.
“More and more in our own territorial waters we’ve seen over the past couple of months where there has definitely been an increase in coastal piracy; we’ve seen an increase in vessel theft, and we’ve seen an increase in engine theft.
“And more and more it’s becoming a concern for us. Hence the reason we are trying to have mariners be aware, for them to be more vigilant, in the security of their vessels, so it is definitely a threat for us here in Belize. It is one that mariners, as well as the coast guard, must be vigilant about in our waters.
“It’s definitely orchestrated, it’s not a one-man thing. It is definitely a group of individuals organizing these hits, and they are becoming very good at it. As it relates to the coast guard, we continue to monitor and patrol our sea spaces 24 hours a day. We have patrol units that are deployed strategically along our coast line to deter such activities,”explained Soberanis.
On Sunday, May 9, 2010, a report of two Belizean men, brothers, Joseph Garbutt, 37, and Earl Garbutt, 27, going missing after they had left en route to Roatan, Honduras, with the purpose of purchasing a vessel, has left the Garbutt family with more questions than answers.
Referring to the missing Garbutt brothers, Soberanis informed us that “those individuals were never found.” Their 32-foot blue vessel named Rhea has also not been recovered.