A couple narrowly escaped robbers wielding machetes on a dirt road in Kenya, and have now shared their shocking story with the world.
Bryant and Lauren Swenson from Utah, US made the move to Nairobi three years ago to to open up a CrossFit gym, alongside their three children.
On November 30, Bryant and Lauren had been driving along the Old Kijabe Hospital Road, close to Maai Mahiuin when they found themselves in a living nightmare.
Ahead of them were three masked bandits attempting to rob a white van. When the van managed to get away, the crooks turned their attention to Bryant and Lauren’s Toyota Land Cruiser.
Horrifying dash-cam footage shows the bandits running directly towards the Swensons, waving their machetes in the air:
Showing lightning quick thinking, Bryant put their vehicle in reverse, speeding several feet backwards before changing back into gear.
Despite experiencing the sort of peril which would cause many a good driver to stall, accidental action hero Bryant put his foot on the gas and zoomed away with milliseconds to spare.
Following their incredible escape, Bryant shared footage of their brush with danger on Facebook, writing:
Our fitness can prepare us for life, but there are times when things happen so fast that we can only give credit to God for His protection. [sic]
This happened yesterday on our way up to Kijabe with Shiv Simani, [Collins Monde], and [Lauren Swenson]. We came upon 3 bandits robbing a matatu. I had to back up long enough to roll my window up before passing by the guy wielding the ponga (machete.)
#Repost FirstPower CrossFit ・・・Our fitness can prepare us for life, but there are times when things happen so fast that we can only give credit to God for His protection 🙏🏼. . This happened yesterday (time stamp is wrong) on our way up to Kijabe with Shiv Simani, @collo_mog, and @lauren.p.swenson. We came upon 3 bandits robbing a matatu. I had to back up long enough to roll my window up before passing by the guy weilding the ponga (machete.) The guy on the far left had a handgun, but couldn't get it out of his waistbelt in time. They chose this spot for ambush because the road is very rough, but fortunately we were in my 80 series 😉 Also thankful for a manual transmission. . . Just before encountering the bandits, we passed two armed police on foot. The gunfire you hear at the end of the video are the cops engaging. We are thankful to have been gone before the gun battle erupted…Thankful for the Lord's protection. . . . #justdrive#landcruiser#80series#firstpowerfit #firstpowerfitness#firstpower#firstpower_crossfit#belongbecomestrong#crossfit#fitness#realkenyacrossfit#health#fitfam#workout #fitness #gym #strong #goals #motivation #active #getfit #instagood #kenya #nairobi #fitnesskenya
Posted by Bryant Swenson on Friday, 30 November 2018
The post continued:
The guy on the far left had a handgun, but couldn’t get it out of his waistbelt in time. They chose this spot for ambush because the road is very rough, but fortunately we were in my 80 series. Also thankful for a manual transmission.
Just before encountering the bandits, we passed two armed police on foot. The gunfire you hear at the end of the video are the cops engaging.
We are thankful to have been gone before the gun battle erupted.
Lauren also took to social media to reflect on the incident, noting how when watching the footage back, it appeared the van driver ahead had tried to warn them with a flash of their headlights.
According to Lauren, the location was ‘not a typical place for bandits to be’ and she and Bryant had initially assumed the van had stopped to drop somebody off:
For me, everything unfolded as if it was a cartoon – seriously. I really didn’t process what was happening as dangerous.
It just seemed odd and sort of like a Jackie Chan-style scripted bad guy chase. My eyes fixated on the wildly waving panga (machete) guy and I just sat in the back seat taking in disconnected details.
I noticed hoodies but didn’t realize their faces were covered. What gave me clarity was hearing our friends’ instructions, ‘Just drive.’ Get out of the situation, as fast as possible. [sic]
Bryant’s window was down, so he flew into reverse to buy time to roll it up. When he threw the car into first gear his window was only partially up. He and the car were unscathed by the panga dude.
We don’t know what the thump sound was from. The bandits chased after us when we passed them, but by then we believe the matatu had alerted the police and you can hear in the video as Collins told us that the police were coming. Then we heard the rifle shot and continued high-tailing it out of there.
What an amazing story of survival when faced with the most terrifying circumstances.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.