Jayson Peter Kelly and Kirsten Smith, both 25, were just eight weeks into a nine-month South America adventure when it happened.
Their shuttle, which had been organised through their hostel, was taking them from Antigua in Guatemala to Leon in Nicaragua when they were attacked, abducted and robbed at gunpoint.
“They commandeered our shuttle and jumped into the back and held a gun to my head,” Kelly told news.com.au. “They had been shooting at the van like cowboys and once that hot gun was at my head, I thought that was it.”
They drove the shuttle bus off the road and led the group into the bush, where they tied them up with their shoelaces and stole all valuables.
The female passengers were all indecently assaulted in the process.
“Having to witness that but being helpless was just absolutely terrifying,” said Kelly. “Kirsten thought it was all over when we all got tied up. She thought that we were going to be shot one by one.”
“She was actually tied up next to me and at one point looked at me and asked if we were going to be okay. I had no idea what to say back. I just told her that I loved her.”
Thankfully, the three men left the group in the bush, allowing them to free themselves and escape back to the road.
Despite the ordeal, the couple have decided to continue travelling through South America and are now in Costa Rica.
This article originally appeared on marie claire.