Honduras incident raising safety concerns - WFLA News Channel 8

Honduras incident raising safety concerns

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Freed Americans outside a courthouse in Honduras (June 26) Freed Americans outside a courthouse in Honduras (June 26)
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The arrests of the Aqua Quest crew are raising new safety concerns about traveling to Honduras, a country that has become a popular destination for mission trips from the United States.

“Any time you hear a story like that, I think it’s going to strike a nerve,” said Richard O’Connor, preaching minister for Northwest Tampa Church of Christ.

Crew members of the Tarpon Springs-based Aqua Quest were arrested May 5 on charges they were smuggling the weapons they had with them for protection. The men remained in jail for more than seven weeks and were released on Thursday.

O’Connor’s wife is among those who are finishing up a trip to Honduras, an annual mission for several dozen church members who help build houses, among other mission work.

Although their trip has some differences from that of the Aqua Quest crew, who was traveling by boat, the incident still raises concerns and O’Connor said he plans to have more safety conversations as a result.

The ship’s captain, Bob Mayne, told News Channel 8 on Thursday that the arrests were a “farce” and that he wanted an investigation to hold those behind them accountable.

In light of the Aqua Quest arrests, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis said he plans to contact the Honduran government and suggested aid to the country should be conditioned on following the rule of law.

“If it was my family wanting to go, I would advise them not to go until we receive assurances,” said Bilirakis, who worked to help free the men while they were held in Honduras.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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