EAGLEVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A dream cruise turned into a terrifying hostage ordeal in Mexico for a Midstate couple.

Ken and Cindy Knight said it happened in Costa Maya. They sent out frantic messages. Some read “go get help,” “In a standoff,” “being held,” messages that wouldn’t arrive until hours later because the remote area had no cell service.

The Eagleville couple was on a Norwegian Cruise ship that took them from New Orleans to Mexico and Belize. It was in Costa Maya on the ship’s return to Mexico when trouble began to brew for them and 16 others during a Jeep excursion off ship.

“They blocked roads with debris and rocks. They said they didn’t want us there,” said Cindy Knight.

Soon they realized just what kind of danger they were in.

"They had weapons, sawed off shotguns" said Knight.

They tried to negotiate their way out, with no luck.

"We kept talking and talking, they just didn't care," said Knight.

The day wore on in the heat and humidity with no help on the way.

“So finally, hours into this, one of the guys who had small children said ‘Our children are very hot, in need of water.’ I think those were the words that someone finally listened to and they finally let us out,” said Knight.

The Rutherford County couple have since returned home, glad they made it through the ordeal.

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Alan Frio is the anchor of News4's evening newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays.

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