Oregon tourist stabbed in Ecuador is evacuated to US


QUITO, Ecuador — An Oregon man who was stabbed repeatedly in an attack on a beach in Ecuador was evacuated to the United States in critical condition on Tuesday, officials said.

Britt Leis, 35, and his fiancee, Leah Koehn, 24, were attacked on Thursday by a group of men as they walked on the beach in the city of Esmeraldas on Ecuador’s northern coast.

In a post on the couple’s blog on Monday, Koehn said that the Bend, Ore., man remained in intensive care following three surgeries.

“I was informed by the head surgeon that there is no certainty he will survive,” Koehn wrote on the blog at http://sudamericadventure.blogspot.com/. “That being said, he was conscious and talking last night, and I have continued to be amazed by his strength.”

Leis’ family members told Portland TV station KGW on Tuesday that the two had sold all their belongings for a yearlong trip to Ecuador during their engagement.

Leis’ father, Ronald Leis, said the two were to be flown to Miami and would then be transferred to Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.

Ana Maria Cisneros, the doctor who attended to Leis in Quito, confirmed that he was evacuated to the U.S. early Tuesday.

Hospital officials did not give information on the health of Koehn.

U.S. Embassy information officer Martha Youth confirmed Tuesday that two Americans were attacked and said the embassy has worked with the hospital to ensure quality care.

“We were really shocked, it was a horrible incident,” Youth told The Associated Press. “We express our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families.”

According to the U.S. State Department Web site, at least 10 Americans have been kidnapped near the Ecuador-Columbia border since 1998.