Security evacuation of executives from Haiti during violent protests

Traveller Assist received an urgent request from a special risks insurer to evacuate three business executives from a hotel complex in Mirebalais after the complex had been surrounded by armed protestors and gunshots had been fired into the building.

The security situation in Haiti had rapidly declined when demonstrators began demanding the resignation of the President of Haiti, Jovenal Moise. The protests were led by opposition politician, Jean-Charles Moise who called for corrupt officials to be prosecuted.

The protests quickly turned violent. Luxury vehicles and homes were targeted and local shops were looted before protestors turned their attention to luxury hotels and foreigners.

The complex where the business executives were staying had been barricaded from the inside by hotel staff. Outside the walls and gates protestors had set fire to tyres and two vehicles, with reports of at least three bursts of gunfire into the hotel.

The Traveller Assist security team assessed that a helicopter extraction was required and that the best chance of success would be at dawn when most of the violent protestors would be sleeping off the drugs and alcohol from the previous night.

Traveller Assist deployed a retained security consultant from Miami to the Dominican Republic to coordinate the helicopter rescue through a trusted, local helicopter provider who had agreed to fly the risky mission.

The executives were placed on standby to be on the roof of the complex at 6:30am with their passports and one small bag each, and were instructed not to tell any of the hotel staff or other guests.

All flight plans were filed and clearances were issued for the rescue mission, and the helicopter, with our consultant onboard, crossed the border into Haiti where they would stay overnight at the airport.

A trusted local ground-agent in Haiti was activated to get close to the complex and report by phone to our consultant what the situation on the ground was. At 6am he reported that there were only a few protestors who were awake, but it was still too early for them to be paying much attention to the complex.

At 6:30am, as planned, the helicopter hovered over the top of the complex, the security consultant opened the door, pulling each executive into the helicopter and successfully extracted them without incident.

The helicopter flew the executives to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and Traveller Assist booked their onward flights home.

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