Sun-seeking tourists at a 'family-friendly' resort were left running for their lives in terror when a gang on jet skis opened fire on a crowded beach.
The terrifying incident unfolded on Tuesday at the Oasis Palm resort in the city of Cancun in Mexico, which has been plagued by gun violence connected to the highly profitable drugs trade.
Just last month the Mexican authorities sent in 1,500 soldiers from the National Guard to the state of Quintana Roo to keep the peace.
Tourists found themselves in the middle of a 'drug war' as the five uniformed gunmen fired about 20 shots into the air, before abandoning their watercraft and escaping in civilian clothing.
Witnesses described seeing children and families "screaming and crying" as they frantically escaped the beach, with a number of these being American tourists.
American Zayne Jones told Utah local news outlet KUTV-News: “Luckily nobody got hurt, but it could have gone a different way,”
“Just not a good feeling having your kids out here.”
Kerry Arms, who was visiting with her husband Andy Guyrich, revealed that they thought it was part of a show when the shooting first began — but quickly realised it was in fact a dangerous situation.
She said: "There was a delayed reaction for about maybe five seconds, then everybody started scrambling and screaming and crying, and running."
The National Guard has had a heavy presence on the beach since the armed incursion, and authorities have formed a “tourist battalion” of troops to guard against any further incidents.
National Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said: "This battalion will provide security to the entire tourist area.”
The latest shooting follows an incident where two tourists died in a suspected gang shootout at a restaurant in nearby Tulum in late October.
Travel agents were surprised to find that there was little impact on autumn bookings in the aftermath, according to the Washington Post.
More than 90% of the economy of Quintana Roo, which has numerous sandy beaches on the Caribbean Sea, is thought to be dependent on tourism.
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