New Zealand man Alan Culverwell (pictured), 60, was killed by the armed robbers on his 65-foot yacht
The wife of a man shot dead at close-range by callous Caribbean pirates, who raided the family yacht on a round-the-world trip, survived the traumatising ordeal despite being brutally attacked with a machete.
New Zealand man Alan Culverwell, 60, was killed by shotgun-wielding robbers while he attempted to defend his wife and two children from the mob who stormed his 65ft yacht near Morodub island in the Guna Yala district in Panama's northeast at about 2am local time on Thursday.
It's understood Mr Culverwell was attacked after he was woken up by a noise on the yacht's roof, but when he went upstairs to check what the noise was he was fatally shot.
Three suspects have since been arrested in connection with the suspected murder of Mr Culverwell, local media outlet TVN Noticias reported.
The former paua diver's wife Derryn and daughter Briar, 11, were also set upon by the hooded assailants, but the mother and daughter managed to stay alive because Ms Culverwell 'forced the pirates out' before locking herself and her children in the below cabin.
'There were about two hours where Derryn just sheltered with the kids in the boat,' Derryn Hughes, Mr Culverwell's sister, told Stuff.co.nz.
Despite suffering with knife wounds, Ms Culverwell summoned enough energy to make a call to a friend in New Zealand who helped the family get back to safety.
Ms Culverwell (pictured left) 'forced the pirates out' before locking herself and her children in the cabin
The 65-foot yacht (pictured) was bought in the US as part of the Culverwell family's round-the-world-trip
'As a family, we are so proud of her,' Ms Hughes said.
Ms Hughes also said she believed both her sister-in-law and niece, who had been taken to hospital in Panama City, had now been released from hospital.
The couple's son Flynn, 11, was not injured in the attack, it's understood.
The family began their two-year sailing adventure after purchasing the yacht in the United States and had been travelling