Austrian national and Placencia resort owner Christian Gigi Gusenbauer fought off sea pirates on his island home Friday 19 February. It happened at about 6:45 pm when Christian was alone on his Private Haven island located in the Lark Caye Range. That’s when he saw three to four dark-skinned men wearing hoodies approaching his house. They started shooting at the house in order to gain entry but Christian locked himself in his bedroom.
He says he can’t recall how many shots he heard because he was in shock and fearing for his life. The men then demanded money which Christian handed over along with the keys to his boat and that’s when one of the men fired a shot that hit him in the buttocks. The pirates then left the island in Gusenbauer’s stolen boat. His dog Mali has been recovered unharmed and his boat also recovered sans engine.
Meanwhile the Placencia community has rallied in support behind the Private Heaven resort (image above) owner. One of his friends Christo Swanepoel took to social media today to thank the area residents for their support.
Hey Placencia! 1st of all. My name got mentioned so many times with the incident regarding Christian Gigi Gusenbauer. I want to make it clear. I was absolutely not alone in this effort. The entire Placencia stepped up and together we rallied all the available forces.The Police force were incredibly responsive and acted fast right up to the commissioner of police. Superintendent Ramclam. Inspector Shal. Detective Fermin. The Belize Coast Guard was unable to help at the time because of the terrible weather conditions and timing but they were responsive and helpful and played a huge part in making this happen. Today they stepped up and brought the boat that was found to Placencia for safe keeping. Officer Lawrence and crew went to hell and back through the rough sea to get the boat here.
Cpl. Cardinez is a superstar.Shane Kenny who behind the scenes kept in comms with Gigi making sure he is staying conscious while at the police station and getting the medical team ready for whats to come when we reached Placencia. Kimberley Viner who kept Gigi calm on the boat and held him all the way on the rough boat ride back. Christopher Rothing who was the 1st person who actually spoke to Gigi. Lee Nyhus behind the scenes communicating with his family and sending help. Placencia as a whole!! I didn’t get the boat captains name but he was a trooper navigating us to the island terrible rough seas. Victoria Fernandez, Nick Ensor and Brandon from the Vision Properties team was 1st to arrive at the pier with a boat to take us together with the police out. They all stepped up and pulled out all the stops. Helping to Organized the ambulance and medical team as well. Captain Eworth took us out today again with Scenes of Crime. Belmopan Police service with Inspector Shal were on top of their game!!
Jason Westby (I’m not certain of his last name but was told it’s him) gathered a team to go secure the house and get Mali the dog. Barefoot Bar’s ladies Brice and Elysia Dial stepped up. Bringing me blankets and towels after curfew because I was soaked and cold and had to wait by the ambulance for Dr Alexis to stabilize Gigi. Dr Alexis and team took Gigi to Belize city immediately. Phenomenal work!
I want to reiterate. Pulling this together and being able to go out on the boat within 45 minutes of this whole thing starting. The entire Placencia community are heroes. Please share this so it’s clear! Apologies if I left anyone out. Well done Placencia!
Jason Westby, Placencia resident and Dog Rescuer: “I didn’t know that Mali was alive. When I got there a boat just come out of the spot after they found out what happened. Then the police was there at the same time, they came up the same time so the dog just stayed in the mangrove. I stood around the police and I told them that I will not leave without the dog and they were okay with that and when they left the dog came and sat by the door. The dog came right out of the mangroves and went to sit by the door, the owners door and she wouldn’t move.”
Update: Gigi Leaves Belize And Returns Home
After his harrowing experience, Gigi decided to return home. His resort is up for sale. Here are his notes: As Mali and I prepare for return to the EU in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, I’m busy writing my book. With all the experiences of the last 5 years, of course, a chapter describing the beauty and uniqueness of Belize must not be missing. What generally helps me write my books is looking back at pictures. These shake up the dusty neurons and recall all sensory impressions such as smells, sound scenery and emotions. Belize is truly unique and the life I got to enjoy by the ocean was a very special adventure in a stunning documentary film from an unknown world.
Some personal notes regarding the reasons why I left: After I got shot I started to experience serious health issues. My left arm is getting weaker and weaker, I’m losing muscles and parts of my body are numb. There are still 14 of the 21 pellets in my muscles and I don’t think that helps. Whatever is wrong needs to be fixed and this won’t work with duct tape or zip ties like I fixed everything else the last years.
“It doesn’t happen to me”.. as long as it doesn’t happen to you. But when it happens and you are lucky to survive, your life is changed forever. “It can also happen to you in the states” is something I heard very often after I got shot. The point is: the US have the same gun laws like Belize, that’s not my bar. In Europe almost nobody owns guns, guns are something for the military or the police, but not for civilians. You can call me a coward, but I tried this weird way of life. Thanks to Compol I was heavily armed the last months and that’s just not the way anybody should be forced to live. I didn’t want to kill a person even if the same persons had shown up again. I just don’t want to take the life of another human being, I don’t even want to hurt another person even if he is attacking me. That’s not my way of life, that’s not why I chose to live barefoot a simple life together with mother nature and I don’t need to be religious to feel that way.
Others may have left with hate, but I left with positive vibes for the good part of Belize ❤ And I want to thank you for memories that filled a whole lifetime. Thank you for: The breathtaking nature of Belize and learning about it’s vulnerability. One of the last natural gems on this planet! For the warm-hearted people that I got to know and all the Belizean and expat friends I will keep forever. The brave people who risked their lives to safe mine. The 1000 different types of blue in the ocean. That I experienced how fish have fish buddies who always stay together. Especially trunk fish and some grunts. So sweet! Thanks for the spotted eagle rays who visited me daily. Sorry that Mali always chased you and thanks for not hurting her. Spotted eagle rays are such gentle and adorable creatures ❤ Thanks for the beautiful osprey couple on Lark Caye who got babies and one of them loving my smart dish as watchtower. Thanks for showing me the underwater universe, the vulnerability of our breathtaking coral reefs and the beauty of the thousands of species living there. Thanks for the Belizean sunrises and sunsets, they are unbelievable. Thanks for the beauty of mangroves and how important it is for fish, birds and the whole planet to protect them. Thanks for showing me the gifts mother earth is giving us each and every day and learning our responsibility to take care of our home in a much better way. Also for the unbelievable power of the Belizean sun and how you can get every comfort out of it without burning fossile fuel.
And finally: thanks for my buddy Mali, my dog, my love, who adopted me more than I adopted her 3 years ago. She became my family, my best friend, my life saver and of course she is joining me to Europe! Which is quite a challenge regarding the EU regulations but I made it to fulfill all requirements.