Ipswich backpackers robbed at gunpoint in Amazon rainforest vow to finish holiday
PUBLISHED: 19:31 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 19:31 17 April 2019
Three backpackers from Ipswich have told of their terrifying ordeal after they were held at gunpoint during a robbery in the Amazon rainforest.
Glenn Williamson, 39, owner of the Ipswich coffee shop Cool Beanz, was travelling through the rainforest to an eco lodge in Peru with friends Lee Scutcher, 36, and James Lott, 38, also from Ipswich, when their tour bus was stopped by five or six balaclava-clad robbers armed with four-foot-long rifles, demanding bags, phones and wallets from everyone on board.
The bus was organised by travel company G Adventures, who also had 20 other tourists on the bus that were left terrified by the ordeal on April 15.
Speaking to this paper, Mr Williamson said: “We were travelling along a dirt track when we were stopped - I was sat in the aisle seat and saw one of the men, in the middle of the road, pointing a rifle at the windscreen.
“As you can image, people just started screaming.
“All credit to the tour guides, they quickly told us to keep calm and to give them whatever they asked for, they were great.
“One robber stood me up and searched my pockets. His gun was right next to me.”
As some of the armed men robbed the group, another reportedly fired warning shots at a car that pulled up behind the bus, unaware of the ambush.
After the robbers made their getaway, the group were quickly transported back to the Peruvian capital Lima, where they were put up in a hotel at the expense of the tour company. Mr Williamson had managed to hide his mobile from the robbers during the raid and called his sister to break the news of the attack.
“I told her not to worry my mum with the news as it was late by local time and to tell her in the morning. She was worried about me but I think my family knew better than to try and tell me to come home,” he added.
Mr Williamson claims that the Peruvian government had told the tour operator that although a similar incident had happened in December 2018, the dirt track was safe for them to use.
Despite the raid on the bus the trio are sticking to six more weeks of planned travelling, including visits to Bolivia, Argentina, Easter Island and Columbia.
“We had planned to do a lot of overnight coach travelling but after this we're going to fly between our stops,” said Mr Williamson.
“If something else happens on this trip, we've said we're flying home though.”