Rape, Beheading, and Sunken Treasure: The Road Warrior and Hans Klaar Are Brothers

9 Mar

Thanks to relentless investigative reporting by the SAILfeed staff (Charlie pointing out the obvious to me), we have deduced that The Road Warrior and Hans Klaar are brothers. The Road Warrior is Alex Klaar. I'm a bit slow on the uptake.

This has not been a happy discovery for me. I wanted to write a post about my old cruising acquaintance and his cool boat, but instead I've been plunged into the Heart of Darkness and learned:

1. Michael Klein, who I believe I also knew in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, was found in the companionway of his boat in Nosy Be, Madagascar with his severed head in his lap, or at his feet, depending on the report you read.

2. Alex Klaar, The Road Warrior, was held in jail for five months on suspicion of beheading Michael Klein. He was finally released for lack of evidence.

3. Alex was also jailed for some sort of custody/child support/illegal transportation issue with his two darling daughters, pictured in my post, and has lost visitation rights and contact with them.

4. Hans Klaar was jailed for rape in South Africa, serving three years of a six year sentence:

Charlie Doane and The Mariner have written about much of this, and I'd read all the stories, but hadn't realized the connections and that I'd known those involved. It all happened eight years ago.

Taken together, the Klaar story comprises (alleged) rape, jail terms, a beheading, smuggling, and recovery of sunken treasure. It's certainly the most compelling story in the cruising world. They've even got Jarle Andhoey beat. Somebody should write a book! 

I knew Alex in October/November of 2005, when we were both anchored near the Dar Es Salaam Yacht Club in Tanzania. I was also friendly with a German sailor on another boat, who I believe was Michael Klein. It seemed the two didn't like each other much. Apparently after I sailed south, the two sailed north to Kenya, then ended up back in Nosy Be, Madagascar, a few months later. Michael was found decapitated in March of 2006.

Alex told me the story of his family recovering a million dollars' worth of gold, silver, and jewels from the wreck of a Portuguese galleon wrecked on Bassas de India, in the Mozambique Channel. I thought this was either a tall tale, or hush-hush, so I didn't blog about it, but it turns out the story is well known and it was all above board. The family even donated some of the canons to museums. 

Rather than go where others have gone before, here are the links to this fascinating tale about a fascinating family who chooses to live on the fringes of the modern world:

The story of the beheading, by Jack van Ommen

The story of Hans Klaar, by Charlie Doane (read the comments as well)

Hans Klaar's release and his side of the story, by Charlie Doane

Hans Klaar Sets Sail again, by The Mariner

The story of Hans told by Martinique Stilwell, who knew the Klaars as teenagers.

And you can surf on from there and find more bits and pieces, and then you can go around feeling mildly sick to your stomach, the way I have for the last few days.




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