(6:30 p.m. EDT) -- Update: A company statement from Aqua Expeditions says that there were only six bandits, not nine as reported earlier. Nor were any passengers bound or gagged.
(9:30 a.m. EDT) -- Telegraph.co.uk is reporting this morning that Peru-based Aqua Expeditions' luxury river ship, m/v Aqua, was robbed -- for the second time in two weeks. (On July 26, six men boarded m/v Aqua in a similar raid, stealing from the 24 passengers onboard at the time; no one was hurt and the robbers were reportedly captured.)
According to the Telegraph's report, this latest group of nine masked bandits stormed the ship Tuesday at dawn with guns and hand grenades, stealing money and valuables from those onboard. Again, no passengers were harmed, though the 20 holidaymakers (hailing from Britain, the United States, Australia and Spain) were forced out of bed at gunpoint and bound at the hands and feet.
The Telegraph further reports that the bandits took advantage of heavy rain and poor visibility in staging the raid, and overtook the two police officers who, as we previously reported, were stationed onboard following the previous incident. One of these officers received first aid for head injuries.
The bandits fled after a shootout with police backup called to the scene by the crew. The river vessel was heading up the Ucayali River in the Peruvian Amazon.
We have been unable to reach a spokesperson for Aqua Expeditions so far this morning for a statement. We'll keep you posted.
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor
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Update: Second Robbery in Two Weeks on Luxury River Ship
August 6, 2009