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Treasure Hunting In Ecuador

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A central Illinois man taken hostage in Ecuador nearly 15 years ago says he's going back for another adventure.

Scott Heimdal has his eyes on a multi-million dollar treasure.

For two months back in 1990, Central Illinois and the world watched as guerrillas held Scott Heimdal captive in Ecuador.

Heimdal was working for a gold mining company at the time of his capture, but only because his plans of diving for deep sea treasure didn't come true.

He says there are a lot of really great shipwrecks, a lot of really wealthy shipwrecks along the coast.

Fast-forward 15 years into the present and Scott will tell you his treasure awaits and he's not afraid to claim it all. Even after his 61-day hostage situation and the recent and widespread civil disturbances in the South American country.

''We've worked out a deal with the government of Ecuador, a 50/50 deal that everything we end up locating and recovering we'll split with them.''

Scott speculates the value of an average Spanish shipwreck off the coast of Ecuador could range in value anywhere from 220 to 280 million dollars.

He has confidence in his crew of five that they will not only bring half of that treasure back home, but also remain safe while on the job.

''We're working with the military in Ecuador so security concerns are really addressed by what type of relations we have with them.''

Scott's immediate family will also play an important role in the diving adventure. They will travel with him and live in Ecuador for as long as the recovery takes. An early estimate is several months.

When Scott told the rest of his family about the plan, he was taken back by the response.

''Everyone has just been so great and so supportive. Even people in the community are behind me.''

About 20 independent investors are also behind Scott. He says some are in to make a buck, while others are just looking for a priceless piece of history to hold onto.

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