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Hazards of geocaching: kidnapping

The cavalry arrives in time.
The cavalry arrives in time.
AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo

While there are many risks involved in the sport of geocaching, the last one you would expect is kidnapping.

This past weekend, two hikers near Nederland were taken hostage and tied to a tree by a homeless man. One of the hostages was able to escape after several hours and returned to town for help.  The situation ended without incident and the alleged hostage taker is in custody.

While these hikers were not geocaching, this brings to the front a few safety reminders if you are planning to cache.

Always cache in groups and never cache alone.  Safety in numbers is the key.

Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan on returning. Leaving a planned route with your contact. if you are overdue, this person can be your lifeline to authorities to begin a search operation.

If you are kidnapped, here are some tips from on how to survive.

Acknowledge the risk of being kidnapped prior to traveling to an area where kidnapping is a known danger, and do what you can to prepare ahead of time. Get training information and documentation from specialists in international safety, such as the International News Safety Institute.

Obtain insurance prior to traveling, especially when traveling overseas. Make sure a few key people know your whereabouts at all times so that in the event of your kidnapping someone will be alarmed and begin searching.

Survey your surroundings once you have been kidnapped. Try to establish some kind of rapport with your captors, since most terrorists are unsure and quite nervous. Develop a relationship with other victims who survive if there are any.

Remain calm and do not panic; if you panic you risk being harmed by your kidnappers. Avoid complaining or constant pleading, and only divulge information when asked.

Remember that if you are used as a tool for obtaining ransom or bargaining that you will survive. Memorize any details of your captors and your environment to help if you are released.

Learn the schedule of your captors and their schedules, when do they eat, sleep, etc. Try to remain physically and mentally acute. Get some sort of exercise (even if you are bound).

Stay safe on the trail. Your experiences are what makes geocaching fun.

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More information on geocaching is found on the Centennial State Geocaching Podcast.


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