It started out as a picture perfect vacation but within hours of their arrival, John Oughtred and Rebecca King-Jones, knew it was going to be a trip they would always remember —; but for all the wrong reasons.
The Victoria couple found their vacation place on the popular accommodation rental website Airbnb and flew into Panama City before driving to the province of Bocas del Toro. Two boat trips later, they finally arrived at their rental home on the small island of Bastimentos.
The couple then decided to stay in for the night and that’s when things went south.
“I think it was about 2:30am in the morning, we ran out of wine and Rebecca went downstairs to fill our glasses,” Oughtred recalls. When King-Jones turned the corner she saw a man standing on the balcony, dressed in full camouflage with a bandanna over his face and pointing a gun.
Oughtred says he heard a bloodcurdling scream out of King-Jones and a glass break.
“I kicked it into high gear and obviously she was right there, so I blew right past her and I got up in that guy’s as fast as I could. I just tried to blow him threw the railing,” Oughtred said.
The railing held up but the intruder did not. Oughtred, a rugby player, slung him over his shoulder and kept moving, dropping the intruder on his head off the balcony. The fall was about 25 feet.
The intruder survived but with the help of neighbours in the area, police tracked down the suspect within minutes. But the arrest was little comfort for the couple who were left shaken and injured.
Oughtred tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, which meant he had to trade in the beach for bed rest.
Now that the couple is back home in Victoria, they’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the experience.
“What if things went the other way definitely makes you appreciate the things you have here even more,” King-Jones said.
But the experience won’t stop them from travelling again anytime soon. Travel plans to Hawaii are already in the works.