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Paddler claims pirate attack

OCT. 10 - Nearly four years ago Sir Peter Blake was shot dead by pirates aboard his 119-foot schooner, Seamaster. Recently, another New Zealand man was reportedly attacked by pirates in nearly the same location.

Kelvin Oram, of Picton, N.Z., was nearing the end of a worldwide fund-raising canoe trip when pirates turned over his boat and threatened him, a news report says.

“Two guys came along in their motorboat … and then rammed me … and then proceeded to try and drown me with their boat and with their paddles and hit me with their motor,” Oram says in the report.

“It was all a bit scary,” he says in another report. “I thought my time was up.”

Unlike Blake, Oram was able to make it to safety. He said he swam to shore and ran to a nearby village. He said it was a “sad end” to his journey. Oram was attempting to paddle more than 4,000 miles along the Murray, Mekong, Kinabatangan, Ganges, Nile and Amazon rivers. His effort, called Paddle for Kids, was raising money for Save the Children.

Sir Peter Blake was killed in December 2001. At the time of his death, Blake and his crew were on an environmental awareness expedition on the Brazilian Amazon. Blake won the Jules Verne trophy in 1994, and helped Team New Zealand capture the America’s Cup in 1995.

Jason Fell