Tarpon Springs crew held in Honduran jail arrives home - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Tarpon Springs crew held in Honduran jail arrives home

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The crew of Tarpon Springs based Aqua Quest ship was greeted by family and friends Wednesday morning. The crew of Tarpon Springs based Aqua Quest ship was greeted by family and friends Wednesday morning.
TARPON SPRINGS, FL (WFLA) -

The crew of the Aqua Quest returned to cheers and relieved families in Tarpon Springs on Wednesday morning.

“It was amazing,” said Amy Ivy with a grin after finally getting to hug her brother, Steven Matanich, after they pulled into the dock.

The men, trained divers on a project to salvage valuable wood underwater in Honduras, spent seven weeks in a Honduran jail, arrested on weapons charges the captain said were an attempt to extort tens of thousands of dollars from them.

“Within minutes of arrival essentially we were kidnapped,” said Captain Bob Mayne, who described the jail they were held in as “filty” and crawling with cockroaches and mosquitoes.

The men had weapons with them for protection, as in standard practice on this type of trip overseas, but Mayne said instead of going through the regular procedures, the men were taken at gunpoint and put in jail.

“I was enraged,” Mayne said. “I said we didn’t do anything wrong and I’m not giving you any money.”

The men were released with the help of members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, who met them at the docks when they arrived.

Several dozen people showed up for the homecoming, including family and strangers, and a DJ played “Coming to America” as the boat pulled in to the dock, where business was shut down for the day to make room for the celebration.

  • Above: Watch our EXCLUSIVE video taken inside the Aqua Quest boat

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