Friday, August 30, 2013

Australia: Italian Tourist, 26, Assaulted, Robbed of Rental Car, All Belongings in Northern Territory

According to The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), a solo Italian tourist, 26, is recovering after her visit to the Northern Territory on August 29.

The young woman was reportedly taking photographs of rocks next to the Kakadu Highway when a man and a woman pulled up in a dark SUV.

Initially, the couple appeared innocent enough. Yet, they offered to sell her a visitor's pass for Kakadu National Park at which point she walked over to her rental car to retrieve some money.

Suddenly though, the man attacked the tourist with a large piece of wood, hitting her severely in the legs. The next thing that happen is that the man stole her rental car and all of her possessions with the woman following him closely in the SUV.

COMMENT: Although the victim did sustain minor injuries, the incident had a dramatic emotional impact on her, having lost everything she had.

The Italian victim did not report the robbery until later in the day because she was stranded on the side of the highway after she was attacked and robbed of her car and possessions.

As a result, she was forced to catch a bus which took her a considerable amount of time to get to a police station. 

The male assailant is described as about 30 years of age, Caucasian, with blonde medium-length hair and stubble on his chin and wearing shorts while the female was described as thin with blond hair.

Although I'm probably the first one to express the benefits of solo travel, simply because it gives you the option of enjoying new surroundings at your own pace and on your own schedule, the downside for inexperienced foreign travelers is that many young adults are too trusting of strangers. 

For instance, selling tickets in the middle of nowhere strikes me as a pretense to target someone.

It might have been far better for the solo traveler to simply have declined the couple's offer and promptly gotten into her car, locked the doors and driven off, while keeping the man and woman in view.

Another facet of foreign travel that I would like to emphasize is that ALL foreign travelers should subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation coverage, regardless of their destination, before they leave home in the event they are injured or become ill. 

Such coverage normally costs US$7-10 a day and is priceless at the cost, particularly if you have to be medically evacuated.

From the ABC news report, it doesn't mention whether the Italian victim carried a mobile phone permitting her to promptly call the police, but ALL travelers should carry a mobile phone (compatible with the country they're in) 24/7 for emergencies such as the one that confronted the victim. 

The fact that she had to wait for a bus to come along suggests that she did not have a mobile.