Danny Blomeley - A grisly hijack (part one)

Running time
3 min 16 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


One period there, we had, there was a word that a rubber boat had been hijacked by bandits and that they were coming back down through the checkpoint into Vietnam. So we were put on alert. And then over a three-day period, we recovered 22 of the bodies from the boat that had subsequently, they'd been shot. Most of them had been tied back-to-back, shot through the kneecaps, and then thrown overboard from this boat.

So I remember one afternoon, we out on a boat patrol, myself and two of the British guys. And the Mekong River's really quite wide. And it was really almost living what we'd learnt through Vietnam on the Mekong in terms of the whole experience. But the Mekong in some points was seven, 800 metres, maybe a kilometre in width, so quite wide.

And I remember one day we were out on the boat. And as I said, I was the only one that was really armed. And I had a radio back to Charlie, Victor three Mike. And we looked over and we just saw, it looked like two to three cows floating in the Mekong. We could just see what we thought were legs just floating. And then just beyond that, and this is probably an experience that still sticks with me, we just heard this howling and what it was was a community of probably 100, 120 people all crying on the other side of the Mekong. So we couldn't work out what was going on. So of course, we went over to investigate. And as we got closer to what we thought was the cattle, it was actually human bodies.

So I think it was four policemen or four military guys had been tied back-to-back. And then as we arrived there, just 30 metres away was this elderly man coming out to retrieve the bodies from the village. So probably from the village to where the bodies were may have only been 150 metres by the time we got there. So we assisted with recovering those bodies. So obviously, rigor mortis had set in by that stage and they were heavily bloated because they'd been drowned. But little did we know that poor elderly gentlemen, that three of the bodies were his sons. So that was, yeah, that was a pretty interesting period. So we assisted. We did the best we could. We dragged those bodies back into the shoreline there. And then we just, we reported it. We went back and we reported and left it.

But subsequently over the following 72 hours, we recovered 22 bodies floating down the river. So that was pretty interesting. And then I think 12 or 14 hours after the last body recovered, so we'd be sitting down having dinner at night and the next minute, the locals would come in and they'd be quite upset, obviously. And basically, they'd say there's more. So we'd down our knives and forks, jump in the Zodiac and head out to the river at all hours of the night and recover the bodies.

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