By Don Winner - Panama Guide.com
On Tuesday, 29 June 2010, 61 year old Bo Kjaer-Olsen, who held citizenship from both the United States and Denmark, was shot and killed on his 70 foot sailboat the "Altares" while at anchor near Bajo Pipon in the Republic of Panama.
The bullet hit an artery in his leg and he bled to death. In the attack Bo's son Zacharias Kjaer-Olsen was also shot. Zach remains hospitalized in David and has undergone surgery to repair the damage done however a bullet remains lodged near his spine and he might require further surgery.
Zach's 27 year old wife Sujey Rodríguez from Chiriqui was also attacked and severely beaten in the face. When the news first broke of this incident I spoke to some people from the boating community near Pedregal. Not too long ago Bo decided to move his boat further away from Pedregal and he was anchored in front of Bajo Pipon.
The Platanal and Chiriqui rivers merge just below Pedregal, and Bajo Pipon is just outside of the mouth of the river. The point being - he was anchored about 7.7 miles downstream from the docks in Pedregal - further away from assistance as well as any kind of police protection. Bo Kjaer-Olsen was a famous salvage diver and treasure hunter who probably had about $200,000 dollars worth of 17th Century Spanish gold on his boat, enough to lure the five men who attacked his family and killed him.
Bo's passion was for scuba diving and searching for and recovering sunken treasure - really. Once I got the correct spelling of his last name it was easy to find more information about him on the Internet. For example, this article entitled "The Skeleton Holds Billions !"
In Bo Kjaer-Olsen's estimation, there are over 2000 sunken ships, from the 15th century to the early 1800's, which wrecked from the Skeleton Coast down to Cape Town, South Africa. All are laden with, specie (monies).
Olsen says that this is one of the main graveyards for treasure ships in the world as they were forced to round the Cape in the days when there was no Suez Canal.
He estimates that salvageable treasure is in the billions of dollars. And who is Bo Kjaer-Olsen ? A credible man with an incredible background.
Olsen was born in Denmark fifty years ago June 1. He immigrated with his parents to South Africa in 1952, was raised and schooled in Cape Town where he lived for twenty-seven years. During his boarding school days, two fathers of his schoolmates were game wardens, so he began spending the three months of summer vacation with them.
Olsen went in the wardens' Jeeps, helping with anti-poaching enforcement and with ministering to sick and wounded animals (e.g. lions with abscessing teeth and elephants with festering wounds from hunters). His early adventures were mainly in the 400 by 300 miles of the Kruger National Park and the Okavango Swamps on the northern - border of Nambia (the source of the Kunini River).
Bo Kjaer-Olsen also became well known as a salvage diver and leader of salvage and exploration expeditions. Included in these were rock climbing and caving (going into deep caves for up to seven days); the caving expeditions were motivated by old stories of hidden treasure and by needed mapping of many unlogged caverns.