Bus Carrying Five Norwegian Tourists Hijacked in Miami
MIAMI (AP) _ A hotel shuttle bus carrying five Norwegian tourists was hijacked early Friday by two men who robbed the passengers of their jewelry and money.
Police said the hijackers boarded the bus with the Norwegians at Miami International Airport. As the bus pulled out of the airport, one of the men pulled a gun and ordered the driver to head east on a nearby highway. The other man then robbed the tourists, striking and injuring one, police said.
The pair fled after ordering the driver to pull off the highway at the first exit.
″This is a singular incident,″ said Metro-Dade Police spokesman Steve Ellison. ″We haven’t seen anything like this. It’s new to us totally, and we are taking measures at this point to try and counter it as best as possible.″
The tourists were in Miami for a cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Nordic Empress. Police said they spent the rest of the night at their hotel before boarding the ship late Friday morning.
Norwegian Consul Odd Holm said two of the tourists came to the consulate Friday for replacement passports.
″It’s regrettable, but I hope that this is an isolated incident,″ he said. ″I have never heard of this happening before.″
Police did not identify the victims.
Tourism officials are working to dispel the notoriety the state received over the killings of 10 foreign visitors in a 12-month span that ended last fall.
This month, the state is playing host to thousands of travel agents, tour operators and industry representatives from around the world at trade events in Orlando, St. Petersburg and Miami.
Commerce Secretary Charles Dusseau also traveled to England this spring to address 1,200 British travel agents and tour operators.
Figures released Thursday showed that the number of visitors to Florida dropped in February for the third month in a row, compared with the same month in the previous year. But officials said preliminary estimates for March and April look more positive.