Three people are arrested after savage pirates shoot dead a father-of-two and slash at his wife with a machete while injuring the couple’s young daughter
- Three people arrested after pirates attacked family on their yacht in Panama
- New Zealand man Alan Culverwell was fatally shot by sea bandits on Thursday
- His wife and two children managed to survive after staying on the boat for hours
- Ms Culverwell ‘forced the pirates out’ and locked her family in the boat’s cabin
Three people – including a minor – have been arrested after a father was shot dead and his wife slashed with a machete during a pirate attack.
New Zealand man Alan Culverwell, 60, was killed after sea bandits stormed his yacht near Morodub island, in the Guna Yala district in Panama’s north-east at 2am local time on Thursday.
His daughter Briar, 11, was knocked over the head while his wife Derryn was slashed with a machete. His son Flynn managed to escape injury.
Three people were arrested following the attack and will front court in Colon, a city in Panama, on Sunday, the NZ Herald reported.
A minor and two other people have been arrested after a father was shot dead and his wife slashed with a machete during a pirate attack (pictured, Alan Culverwell with partner Derryn)
New Zealand man Alan Culverwell, 60, was killed after sea-bandits stormed his yacht near Morodub island, in the Guna Yala district in Panama’s north-east at 2am local time on Thursday (pictured, Derryn, Briar, Flynn and Alan)
Mr Culverwell’s daughter Briar, 11, was knocked over the head while his wife Derryn was slashed with a machete. His son Flynn managed to escape injury (pictured, Alan Culverwell)
Mr Culverwell is understood to have been sleeping below deck with his family when he heard a noise on the yacht’s roof.
When he went up to check on the cause of the noise, he was fatally shot.
His wife, and two children, managed to stay alive after Ms Culverwell ‘forced the pirates out’ before locking herself and her children in the below cabin.
Despite suffering knife wounds, Ms Culverwell summoned enough energy to make a call to a friend in New Zealand.
‘He kept Derryn on the phone and as calm as he could,’ Mr Culverwell’s sister Derryn Hughes said.
‘The attackers had left the boat at that stage, but Derryn was very scared but trying to keep it together for the kids.
The friend notified authorities in Panama and New Zealand Police, before the family was finally rescued.
A tracker was also installed on the boat, which helped rescuers locate the vessel.
Ms Culverwell received stitches for her injury and left hospital with her two children on Saturday.
While the exact motives behind the unprovoked attack are yet to be confirmed, the pirates reportedly stole an outboard engine from the vessel as well as other items.
Mr Culverwell’s stepson and a close friend are understood to be leaving New Zealand to be by the family’s side.
Panama’s president Juan Carlos Varela has since appeared on television and publicly apologised to the Culverwell family.
During the broadcast, Mr Varela promised that the attackers would pay for their crimes.
The 65-foot yacht (pictured) was bought in the US as part of the Culverwell family’s round-the-world-trip
The Culverwell family had sold their home in the Marlborough Sounds on the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island
The Culverwell family had sold their home in the Marlborough Sounds on the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island.
The father used the money to purchase the 65ft yacht from a seller in Florida, US.
‘It was a beautiful big boat that had been owned by someone with way too much money and [Culverwell] just timed it perfectly, he bought it in Florida for way less than had been spent on it,’ Paua Industry Council chief executive Jeremy Cooper said.
The family were sailing the newly-bought boat back from the place of purchase, making numerous stops along the way.
They made a stop at the Panamanian island of Bocas del Toro and were to make their way back to New Zealand before they were intercepted.
Panama National Border Service, Eric Estrada, said psychologists from the Public Ministry and social workers had been in touch with the surviving victims.
Ms Culverwell (pictured left) ‘forced the pirates out’ before locking herself and her children in the cabin
The father-of-two was shot at point blank range before the pirates attacked his wife and daughter
The General Congress of Guna Yala also expressed their sadness at Ms Culverwell’s death.
Piracy in the Caribbean
Piracy in the Caribbean began in the 1500s
It declined to almost non-existence in the 1830s
1716 to 1726 was considered the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’ in the Caribbean
Piracy was popular in the Caribbean because of the existence of pirate seaports
Pirates were often former sailors experienced in naval warfare
Aboard a pirate vessel each pirate had to abide by a ‘codes of conduct’
Some rules included a dress code and strictly no women were allowed
A punishment for breaking the rules would be agreed upon by everyone boarding the boat before it departed
Meanwhile Mr Culverwell’s friends and family have paid tribute to the beloved family man.
He was described as a ‘legend’ and a ‘brilliant teacher’ by his friends.
A GoFundMe page had been set up to help the Culverwell family.
‘The Culverwells are special people. They are without a doubt the kindest and most genuine family we have ever met,’ a statement on the page read.
‘Derryn will be faced with multiple logistical challenges ahead.
‘Derryn, you are not alone, and an army of people love you and are happy to help your beautiful family.’
The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Daily Mail Australia they were ‘providing consular assistance to a New Zealand family following an incident in Panama’.
‘Due to privacy considerations no further information will be provided,’ a spokesperson said.
The family are in the process of also arranging Mr Culverwell’s body to be transported back to New Zealand.
A GoFundMe page had been set up by loved ones to help the Culverwell family (pictured) in the wake of the traumatising incident
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