2 U.S. Olympic swimmers pulled off plane as part of Rio robbery probe


Olympic officials said Wednesday evening two American swimmers who were allegedly held up at gunpoint last week in Rio were removed by Brazilian authorities from their flight back to the United States.

Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were taken off an American Airlines plane on the tarmac at Rio’s Galeão International Airport, and investigators from Rio’s Tourism Police requested their passports be seized so they can be questioned, The New York Times reports. Gold medalist Ryan Lochte said that early Sunday, he was riding in a taxi with Conger, Bentz, and another teammate, James Feigen, when they were robbed at gunpoint by men who said they were police officers. Investigators said they have been unable to uncover evidence corroborating the story.

A judge issued an order earlier Wednesday to prevent Lochte and Feigen from leaving Brazil, citing a video showing them returning to the Olympic Village “without signs of being physically or psychologically shaken, even joking amongst themselves.” Lochte left Rio on Monday and is back in the U.S., his attorney Jeff Ostrow said; CNN reports Feigen is still in Rio. Ostrow told the Times his client has “cooperated thoroughly with the Brazilian authorities and stands behind his statement,” and said Brazil has a “dark cloud over it for a million and one reasons, from their economy to their crime to their management of the Olympics.” Lochte and Feigen spoke with police after the alleged incident, with both saying they were intoxicated at the time and could not remember where the robbery occurred or even the color of the taxi they were in. A prosecutor in Rio said if the swimmers lied to investigators, they could face charges of giving false testimony.

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