US Hikers Held in Iran Took Big Risks
Crossing the border accidentally is hard, but possible
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted May 3, 2010 2:25 PM CDT
Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd (from left), the American hikers jailed in Iran.   (AP Photo/freethehikers.org, File)

(Newser) – How hard is it to accidentally cross the border from Kurdish Iraq into Iran, as Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer did last year? Outside magazine dispatched Joshua Hammer to retrace their steps and find out. His conclusion? The three demonstrated a “shocking lack of preparation,” but they also got plenty of bad advice and “fell victim to a sequence of small mistakes.” Mistake No. 1: Embarking without a guidebook, relying on some blurry Google Maps.

“We didn't feel we had to do real in-depth preparation,” says Shon Meckfessel, who skipped the fateful outing because he was sick. Meckfessel says several locals told them to visit the Ahmed Awa waterfall, not mentioning its proximity to the border. Though they say no one warned them about their location, local newspapers say they were warned at a checkpoint near the waterfall. Hammer met guards on his hike but reports that the border is easy to miss—there's no marker—and plenty of smugglers pass back and forth across it.

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
danwinters
May 4, 2010 2:33 PM CDT
they are lucky they didnt get eels shoved up there ass
oldgoat
May 4, 2010 4:55 AM CDT
they were warned of a checkpoint near the falls and didn't put 2 + 2 together and say gee maybe we're getting awful close to the border then? sorry I have little compassion for these people that tempt fate and then want the US gov to come to their rescue.
Timinator2K
May 4, 2010 3:04 AM CDT
Just biding their time to get released...sell their book...and screenplay...and cash in. A future pay-day method to their idiocy.