Edmonton teen Arielle Ostrander is on her way home after being caught in the middle of a harrowing bus hijacking in Mexico.
The 16-year-old had been visiting her grandfather in Puerto Escondido and had left on a bus early Sunday morning, travelling to the airport in Mexico City to begin her trip home.
Around 2:30 a.m., the bus was hijacked by several men, who got on board, stabbed the driver, and demanded passengers turn over their possessions.
“I fell asleep. And then I woke up to slamming doors and yelling and everyone screaming. And there were five Mexican guys who were on the bus and they were just going aisle by aisle, in Spanish obviously, going ‘give me everything, give me everything. I want everything you have.’ They were kicking people, abusing them,” Arielle recalled to Global Edmonton.
“She called me on her cell phone and I was expecting her to call in the morning as she arrived in Mexico City,” her mother, Stephanie Ostrander, told Metro Edmonton of the call she received in the middle of the night.
Arielle told Global she tried to keep calm, hiding her purse - which contained her passport, cellphone, airline ticket and health information - behind her back and only answer questions when asked.
And I just kept telling them ‘I don’t have anything. I don’t have anything,’” she explained.
“I just focused on my responsibilities because I didn’t want to make a scene. So I just stayed calm and just answered questions.
The robbery, she told Metro, lasted about 15 minutes. At some point the hijackers attacked and wounded the bus driver, but left the other 15 passengers unharmed, although shaken.
Arielle and Stephanie remained in contact through phone calls and texts, as the group was taken to the nearest bus terminal in Acapulco to sort out their travel arrangements. The group decided to press on to Mexico City.
An obviously shaken Arielle sent out several tweets after the robbery, wishing for her mother and to be back home in Alberta.
"I could have died tonight," she told Metro. "That didn't occur to me until now."
Stephanie told Metro Edmonton Arielle's Mexico vacation will be the last for anyone in the Ostrander family.
“I think we are now very clear Mexico is not the country it used to be,” she said. “We’ve all agreed Mexico is over for us.”
According to CHED 630, Arielle is scheduled to arrive home in Edmonton Monday afternoon.
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