Carnival cruise ship abuzz over passenger, 70, who killed robber in attack
By Juan Ortega
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted February 26 2007
By the time an eight-day cruise returned to Port Everglades on Sunday, the tale of one passenger had grown to nearly mythical proportions.
Passengers touring the western Caribbean aboard Carnival Liberty swapped stories about a U.S. military veteran who thwarted a robbery Wednesday in Limon, Costa Rica, one of the ship's stops. The American used his bare hands to kill an armed robber who had attacked a woman traveling with him, according to Limon Police Chief Luis Hernandez.
Many of the 3,000-plus passengers hadn't met the woman's defender but knew he was returning to the United States aboard their ship. They assumed he was young, fast and strong.
"I figured he was a military guy who knew how to fight, who took his life in his hands and could have gotten shot and killed," said Bill Phillips, 37, of Holbrook, N.Y.
He recalled hearing multiple versions of the story, including one in which a woman killed the robber. "Everybody was like, `What's going on?'"
In fact, it was a military veteran in his 70s from Ohio, Hernandez said. The man and 12 other tourists, all traveling together, were getting out of a van to visit a beach when three masked men ran toward them in an apparent robbery attempt. One attacker held a gun to a woman in the group and the Ohio man put him in a headlock, broke his collarbone and killed him, Hernandez said.
Two other robbers fled, he added.
Police didn't identify the American. They called his actions self-defense and let him and others return to the ship. Members of the group did not identify themselves to waiting media when the ship docked at Terminal 19 of Port Everglades Sunday morning.
Passenger Don Correy, 54, of Kanab, Utah, heard the story from his son, who heard it from a friend.
"I didn't know if it was true," Correy said as he waited for a cab at Terminal 19.
The attack in Costa Rica prompted Carnival to replace the port call in Limon with a stop in Roatan, Honduras, according to Aly Bello, a Carnival representative. She said Sunday she didn't know whether the change was permanent.
Carnival officials, citing safety concerns, warned passengers not to leave the port when the ship stopped in Colon, Panama, its third and final destination before returning to Port Everglades, passengers said Sunday. Bello did not confirm that.
Personally I don't think Roatan is any better than Costa Rica, you just have to be extra careful no matter where you are....