Update: Peter Mathews
- TERROR IN JUNGLE
U OF C PROFESSOR, GRAD STUDENT SAFE AFTER ATTACK
By KELLY HARRIS and JASON van RASSEL
An archeologist and a grad student from the University of Calgary who
went missing Friday following a
violent attack in the Mexican jungle have been found alive and safe.
There are conflicting reports, but Canadian officials in Mexico said the
archeologist, Peter Mathews, 46,
endured a three-day ordeal before he was found about 5 p.m. MDT yesterday
near the Usumacinta River,
along the border of Mexico and its southern neighbor, Guatemala.
"He was found on the Mexican side," Canadian consul Adam Blackwell said
from nearby Pal-enque, in
Mexico's southern Chiapas state.
"He'd probably walked for three days to find help."
And U of C officials later received news from the Mexican Embassy in
Ottawa that Mathews, grad student
Armando Anaya and three others had been found together at a Guatemalan
border crossing, about 40 km
upriver from where they were attacked.
"(Mathews) is fine -- he has two black eyes and probably a broken nose,"
said Stephen Randall, U of C's
dean of social services.
"They had their boots taken away," Randall said of the group. "They're
blistered and bloody, but they're
alive and that's the critical point."
An exhausted Mathews slept in a Palenque hotel last night.
Mathews' wife Janet spent anxious days waiting by the phone with scant
details of what had happened to
her husband and other members of his team.
"To know they've all been found and they're all right, obviously we're
thrilled," she said from her Calgary
Mathews went missing after he and other members of his expedition were
attacked by up to 80 armed
locals in the jungle village of El Cayo.
A local worker who witnessed the attack said Mathews was beaten with a
rifle butt, robbed, forced to sign
cheques and stripped of his clothing before jumping into the Usumacinta
River to escape, said Merle Greene
Robertson, who lives in Palenque.
While some managed to escape, there had been reports that others,
including Anaya, were being held
Details of the attack are sketchy, but Randall said it may have been
motivated by the archeologists' removal
of a pre-Columbian Mayan altar from a local site.
"The way the local population reacted to it makes us believe it is of
some religious importance," Randall
said, adding the government had given them permission to move the altar.
Mathews, who has been at the U of C for 25 years, is an expert in
translating Mayan hieroglyphics. He had
been in the area earlier in June and left because of dangerous conditions.
It's unknown when he'll return to
"Peter reported that it was too dangerous to operate," said Randall.
"They are not going to send a small
group of men in there without backup."
El Cayo is 30 km north of the Yaxchilan ruin site, one of the largest
Mayan complexes in Mexico. The site
is about 890 km southeast of Mexico City.
Nancy McNelly "Bastante aproximado pero casi parece
http://www.halfmoon.org que lo hubiera escrito Tarzan"
Dept. of Anatomy & Neurobiology
Boston University School of Medicine