Anchorage man hacked to death in Guatemala

Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008

GUATEMALA CITY - A U.S. tourist from Alaska was hacked to death and his wife seriously injured during an attack by machete-wielding robbers aboard the couple's sailboat on a lake in northern Guatemala, the surviving victim told The Associated Press on Sunday.

In a telephone interview from her hospital bed, Nancy Dryden, 67, said her husband Daniel Perry Dryden, 66, was killed by four men who boarded their boat while it was anchored in Lake Izabal and demanded money.

"They poked us and stabbed us with the machetes, and they were asking for money specifically dollars," said Dryden, who is listed in stable condition at the Bethesda Hospital in the lakeside town of Morales.

The thieves were apparently unhappy with the take. "We had a few quetzales (Guatemala's currency), but we had no dollars with us on the boat," Dryden recounted.

The couple, who are retired and live near Anchorage, had bought the boat in February. They were equipping the vessel in preparation for a planned voyage out into the Caribbean and, eventually, to the U.S. east coast.

Dryden said the four assailants boarded the vessel late Saturday; she believes they may have reached the boat by swimming from shore.

The long machetes the men brandished "seemed liked curved swords," Dryden said.

After assaulting the couple, the men demanded Dryden hand over the keys to the vessel, which has an auxiliary motor. When she didn't - she was unable to tell whether they wanted the keys to the boat, or a small dinghy the couple used to get to shore - the men left, also apparently by swimming.

Dryden struggled over to the boat's radio and sent out a distress call. "I said we need help ... I said my husband was not moving," Dryden recalled.

Dryden said she expects her children to arrive tomorrow and plans to be transferred to the United States for medical care.

Assistant Police Commissioner Luis Say said the attack is being investigated.

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