Austrian professional triathlete sweet talks her way out of horrific kidnap and torture ordeal after captor runs her over, bundles her into the back of a van, strips her naked and ties her to a chair
- Nathalie Birli, 27, had been on her way to training when she was hit by a red van
- She woke up naked and tied to a chair in an unfamiliar house in southern Austria
- Ms Birli was blindfolded and the man also threatened to suffocate and drown her
- Triathlete was able to gain the abductor’s trust and persuade him to release her
An Austrian triathlete survived a horrific kidnapping ordeal after she managed to sweet talk her abductor into letting her go.
Nathalie Birli, 27, had been on her way to training in Kumberg, southern Austria on Tuesday when she was hit by a red delivery van.
A man got out and beat her with a stick, bound her hands with duct tape and bundled her into the back of the vehicle.
Ms Birli, who has a 14-week-old son, was left with a broken arm and a head injury and woke up naked and tied to a chair in an unfamiliar house.
Despite being tortured and threatened with drowning, she was able to persuade her kidnapper to release her, as long as she told police that her disappearance was an accident.
Ms Birli said that she was able to gain the man’s trust after she complimented his orchids and he began pouring his heart out to her.
A man, 33, has been arrested by police over the professional athlete’s ordeal.
Austrian triathlete Nathalie Birli was hit by a delivery van and woke up naked and tied to a chair in an unfamiliar house
Ms Birli said that her abductor blindfolded her before forcing her to drink alcohol at knifepoint.
He then tried to suffocate her and forced her in a bathtub with cold water, where he threatened to drown her.
She told Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung: ‘It must have been about 5pm. Suddenly a red delivery van drove into me. I fell to the ground and my left forearm was broken.
‘A man got out and hit me in the head with a length of wood. He bound my hands with electrical insulation tape and threw me on to the back seat. I must have been unconscious for a while.
‘When I came to, I was naked and tied to a chair in an old house. The man said: ”If you do what I want, you’ll be free tomorrow.”
‘I had the feeling that I was in a house far away from help and I was sure that no one would find me there.’
She added that the man had a knife in his hands ‘at all times’.
The 27-year-old, pictured with a fellow athlete, had been on her way to training when she was attacked
She said she was able to persuade the kidnapper to release after complimenting his orchids
However, she said she eventually managed to gain his trust after complimenting his orchids and convinced him to take her back home.
Her compliments helped her build a rapport with the kidnapper, who poured out his sorrows to her.
She said: ‘All of a sudden the culprit was nice to me. He said he was a gardener and he told me all about his messed-up life — that his father had died, that his mother had become an alcoholic and that his girlfriend had cheated on him.’
The man agreed to release her if she told the authorities that her disappearance was an accident.
She had been kidnapped at around 5pm and was back home by midnight.
She wrote on Facebook after her release: ‘A thousand thanks to everyone who was looking for me yesterday. You couldn’t have found me. I was hit, beaten together, caught up and brought to a small house off the road – like in a bad movie.
‘Thank God I was able to free myself and I am well except for a broken arm and a head injury.’