St Thomas Source. By John Baur.
A sailing community website reported Wednesday that a Frenchman sailing through the Virgin Islands on his way to Guadeloupe in January was attacked and seriously injured at sea.
According to reports, the sailor, 70-year-old Guy Briffa, was shot in the thigh when his boat was boarded about a mile and a half south of St. Croix.
Wednesday's report on the Caribbean Safety and Security Net website says on Jan. 14 a French single-hander, that is, a boat small enough to be crewed by one person, was en route from the mainland through the Bahamas to Guadeloupe, where the 70-year-old Briffa was to meet his wife. It stopped to rest overnight in a protected anchorage on the southwest coast of St. Croix.
The next morning the boat departed the anchorage at about 11 a.m., according to CSSN. But 30 minutes later, while under power about 1.5 miles offshore, the report said Briffa was approached by a big fishing boat with three men aboard – two Hispanic and one black. Two of them boarded the Frenchman's boat.
The men aggressively threatened him, the report said, shouting “drugs, money.” They punched him in the face and then stabbed or slashed his lower left leg. They took cash and electronics from below deck.
The captain was then shot in the right thigh at close range, severely wounding him. They left him on the deck of his drifting boat and departed.
Briffa, although bleeding profusely and in severe pain, was able to maneuver his boat into the Hovensa pier on St. Croix's south side, coming to rest alongside a tug.
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