Family of Travel Bloggers Found Alive After Pirate Attack

The Californian family of four emerged from the Amazon rainforest with only minor bites and scratches.

After going missing in the jungles of the Brazilian rainforest for three days, an American family has been found alive.

Their story is harrowing: Two American travel bloggers, Adam and Emily Harteau, and their two young daughters travelled through the Amazon rainforest to blog about their adventures. As the family travelled down the Amazon River Delta on October 29, state police reported pirates attacked the boat they and others were travelling on.

Before setting off on their riverboat expedition, the Harteaus had been living in Florianopolis on the southeast coast of Brazil. They moved to South America in 2012 to begin a long road trip that began in Patagonia. The family was documenting their trip on their blog, Our Open Road. More than 125,000 people follow the family's travels on Instagram.

Photo provided by Brazil's Secretary of State for Public Security and Social Defense. Adam Harteau, left, Emily Harteau, third from right, and their two daughters are shown with military police officers and residents in the Breves municipality, Pará, Brazil. - PHOTOGRAPH BY AP IMAGES

Through the family's spokesperson Colby Guillory, Associated Press reporters learned that the U.S. embassy in Brazil released news of the family's return on Wednesday.

That same day, local outlets reported that police from the northern Brazilian state of Para found the boat that the family had used, after pirates floated it to a dock. Before they fled, the pirates had allegedly stolen the belongings of the crew members and other passengers aboard the ship.

When the vessel was found, the family was absent and authorities quickly began a search for the missing four.

On Wednesday, police announced that the family was found alive with only a few scratches and insect bites. No additional details on how they escaped have been released.

Boats rest on the Amazon River in the Igarapé-Miri municipality of Pará, a state in northern Brazil. - PHOTOGRAPH BY PAULO AMORIM, GETTY IMAGES

Speaking to Time, Guillory stated the family was on their way out of South America, with a final destination of Los Angeles, when they boarded the river boat headed for the Brazilian city of Breves.

“Me knowing Adam, he probably took it upon himself to save his family,” Guillory told the AP. “We just know that sometime between pirates overtaking the boat and leaving the boat, (the Harteaus) went missing. We think they jumped.”

It's the second time a tourist has disappeared in Brazil's vast rainforest in recent months, the AFP reported. In September, a British woman travelling the Amazon by kayak was murdered.

River pirates are a known danger in the Amazon. The New York Times reported in 2016 that they're most active at night. Often armed, they plunder river barges and have been known to torture and kill their hostages.


Lead image: photograph by Alex Robinson, Aurora

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