24-year-old sails to safety

A Canadian woman has sailed to safety after watching pirates murder her father aboard his 35ft yacht.

Myda Egrmajer hid when four pirates boarded the Ericsen 35, Adena, off the coast of Honduras and shot dead her father, Milan Egrmajer, 58.

She then fired a flare gun to scare off the intruders and sail to safety with her father’s body still on board.

The 24-year-old graduate had no previous sailing experience, but was forced to sail into conditions so rough that the Honduran navy refused to rescue her.

It was not until a day after her escape that she was eventually picked up by a passing Australian ship.

She tried to steer towards the vessel, but her engine failed and it was only when she started drifting towards rocks that the ship sent a lifeboat to rescue her and collect her father’s body.

Her cousin Eric van Riesen said: ‘She was adrift in the ocean. When push came to shove, she chased off the assailants and piloted this boat through heavy seas to get a passing ship to rescue her. She’s a tough cookie.

‘How she is going to deal with the trauma when she gets home, we don’t know.’

Mr Egrmajer, a semi-retired engineer who had been sailing in Central America since 2008, was shot four times at close range after he try to resist a robbery.

Mr van Riesen said: ‘He had an opportunity to fulfill a dream, and he was living that dream.

‘He was a very sociable person. He was always someone you could just sit down and share stories with.’

The Egrmajers had decided last Thursday to camp on a riverbank near the sea after the ocean turned stormy.

They sought shelter in a remote lagoon called El Diamante, where sailors regularly overnight, and the pirates approached them while they were at anchor.

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