Two American Swimmers Removed From Flight By Brazilian Authorities

Gunnar Bentz, left, and Jack Conger.

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Two American Olympic swimmers who said they were with Ryan Lochte during an armed robbery in Rio de Janeiro were pulled off an airplane and detained by Brazilian law enforcement, the U.S. Olympic Committee confirmed Wednesday to BuzzFeed News.

Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were headed back to the US on an overnight flight when federal law enforcement pulled them off the flight, Patrick Sandusky, a spokesman for the United States Olympic Committee said.

The Americans “were removed from their flight to the United States by Brazilian authorities. We are gathering further information,” the statement said.

Reuters reported that a third swimmer, James Feigen, was also detained by police and prevented from returning to the US.

The swimmers previously told the Associated Press and NBC they were returning from a party Sunday morning when their car was pulled over by what they believed were police officers. The armed men then demanded the men's valuables at gunpoint, Lochte said.

Police, however, have said they have found little evidence of the robbery and that the swimmers provided few details about the incident.

US swimmer Ryan Lochte

Martin Meissner / AP

Bentz and Conger had been called to testify by local police about the robbery, but did not show, according to a report from Brazilian newspaper O Globo. Authorities then searched for the athletes at the Olympic village, but were unable to locate them.

News that the swimmers were detained came after a Brazilian judge on Wednesday ordered Ryan Lochte to surrender his passport and stay in the country as the investigation into the robbery continued.

Lochte, however, had already left the country.

A spokesperson for the US consulate in Brazil told BuzzFeed News they were aware of the news reports that the two athletes were detained.

“We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” the spokesperson said.

Officials refused to provide additional details of the incident “due to privacy concerns.”

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