A California family who had been missing since Sunday is finally returning home from Brazil after their dream vacation turned into a nightmare when their boat was overtaken by pirates. Yes, actual pirates.
According to the Associated Press, Adam and Emily Harteau and their 3- and 7-year-old daughters had been living and traveling around South America since 2012, documenting it all on their website, Our Open Road. But the family had reportedly decided to move back to the states to be closer to family and friends as they raised their daughters.
Before returning to the states, the Harteaus decided to take one last trip, traveling down the Amazon River delta toward the community of Breves in Brazil. However, on Sunday their boat was overtaken by armed men. It was then that the crew and the Harteau family was forced to travel to the city of Porto dos Dias, according to Sergio Chene, a spokesman for Para’s Public Safety Department.
Those onboard the ship were reportedly held hostage for several hours and were stripped of all personal belongings before the pirates fled, Chene told the AP. The family then fled, presumably into the jungle, where they went missing. The van the family had been traveling in throughout South America was found abandoned in the jungle days later.
But luckily the family was found alive and well on Wednesday with just a few bug bites and scratches to show for their ordeal.
However, what exactly happened to the family over the last four days still remains a mystery.
“Me knowing Adam, he probably took it upon himself to save his family,” Colby Guillory, a Los Angeles resident acting as a family spokesman, 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.”
When Guillory learned that the family had been found alive, he told the AP, “We just can’t wait to have them home.”
The Harteaus were expected back in the states on Nov. 15 but will likely travel back sooner to live a perhaps quieter, pirate-free life.