Two former Royal Marines are lucky to be alive after being ambushes, attacked, and shot by pirates during a world record paddling attempt of the Amazon River.
John Bathgate and Ian “Yan” Roberts set out to paddle their canoes from Ecuador to the Brazilian coastline, navigating from the Amazon River’s highest navigable point, the Volcán Chimborazo glacier, to the Atlantic Ocean (3186 miles).
But the world record attempt for these former Royal Marines was cut short in Peru when they were ambushed by pirates. They posted a video that has made its way to YouTube immediately after being attacked and shot by the pirates. The men managed to fight off the pirates and knock them into the water before paddling away to safety, but then had to address the multiple open wounds from where two bullets entered and left John Bathgate’s leg and shoulder.
The video, shared by The Sun, shows the wounds. It also features John Bathgate describing the pirate attack and how they fought for their lives against the armed assailants.
Do not click play on this video if you are easily disturbed by blood. This is not intended to glorify violence in any way, rather it’s intended to show the very real dangers these former Royal Marines faced on their world record attempt.
In the video, John Bathgate can be seen describing the pirate attack. He says “As soon as the pistol was presented, Yan thrust the paddle straight into the guy’s chest to disarm him, and then he dived into the water to capsize them.” Adding “It all happened so quickly, but then I boarded his boat. I think I grabbed him, and there were two shots. The first shot was aimed at Yan and missed. The second shot hit me in the shoulder.”
Bathgate goes on to say “When I eventually came up, Yan was tussling with him. He had come up on the other side and pulled their boat down to try and capsize them. As I came up, I finished the capsize and grabbed the lad at the same time. I vividly remember then having my hand on top of his head – basically trying to drown him. Then, the third shot went off and I felt another jolt through my whole body. I thought in my head ‘this can’t happen again’ and found his arm with my hand, and luckily found his weapon. As I twisted the weapon out of his hand, I fired two shots under water in the struggle and then it jammed – having the weapon in my control, I then knew that there was no longer a threat.”
He finishes by saying “We had seen the guy’s boat had capsized, his engine was gone, his friend was useless and in the water, and we had the gun – so we were satisfied that we were more secure. Ultimately what we did saved our lives.”
According to the Scottish Sun this attack by pirates came AFTER they were already briefly kidnapped by villagers in Peru.
Several reports claim the pirates were ‘visibly drunk.’
Ian “Yan” Roberts then had to paddle John Bathgate to safety, as seen in the graphic video on YouTube, with one bullet entering and exiting his leg while the other entered and exited his shoulder. If there is a silver lining at all, it might be that both gun shots were clean and didn’t hit any major organs.
Their world record Amazon River paddle attempt, all 5,128 kilometers of it, was obviously postponed. They will certainly seek to attempt it again in the future and not allow this pirate attack to jettison their hopes of setting a world record for paddling the Amazon, a river that’s up to 30 miles wide at points and makes every other river on earth seem like a stream.