Three young men from Britain got the scare of their lives on Monday, when a night of binge drinking and parties ended with the trio finding themselves in war-torn Syria.
Alex McCormick, a 19-year old from Essex, James Wallman, 23, from Hertfordshire, and 25-year old Lewis Ellis of Manchester, say their night of partying ended with the nightmarish realization they were being taken into custody by soldiers in one of the most dangerous places on earth.
Speaking to news.com.au, the trio say they have been working at bars and nightclubs in Ayia Napa in Cyprus.
After an all-night bender on Sunday, the three say they were scheduled to board a ship Monday morning for a day of dolphin watching.
But in their inebriated state, the young men apparently ended up on the wrong ship – a fact that only became apparent when the vessel was already out at sea, far from Cyprus.
Without translators, the three were unable to communicate with the crew of the ship, and with no cell phone reception or Wi-Fi connections, they could neither ascertain their location nor call for help.
After hours at sea the three spotted land, hoping that to arrive in Greece or perhaps Turkey.
Instead, however, they disembarked at what turned out to be the Syrian port of Tartus.
The three were captured by Russian soldiers, who took them in for interrogation.
But once it became clear what had actually transpired, the three say, the Russian soldiers arranged for them to be shipped back to Cyprus – but not before enjoying a good laugh at the seemingly absurd situation.
“Alex called his mum and she went… ballistic,” said Ellis. “She was crying and screaming down the line and the Russians were laughing their a—- off.”
The young Brits claim they returned to Cyprus more than 24 hours after their journey began.
But some have claimed that the alleged trip to Syria is an elaborate hoax, a prank put on by the three to garner media attention.
A report by the Daily Mail includes claims that Ellis admitted to friends that the supposed hangover excursion never occurred.