Esther-Ethy Mamane, 26, of Paris, her mother Claudie Mamane, 60, and three companions attempted to hail a taxi at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport, but instead they were steered to an unlicensed van, which was possibly a gypsy cab.
Police saw the tourists enter the van and attempted to intervene. An officer reached through the van's window trying to remove the vehicle's keys, but the van's driver sped off knocking the officer to the ground.
A chase ensued with the five French tourists in the van and with police in a close pursuit. Esther-Ethy told the New York Post that she and her fellow travelers "screamed and prayed" through it all.
"It was a miracle that we survived," she said. "We were very frightened."
Mamane said the ride was "like something from a film."
The van, with tourists still along for the ride, sped for seven miles along a highway and residential streets with the vehicle hitting a gate and a truck along the way.
Eventually the suspects jumped out of the van while it was still moving. The police, with guns drawn, chased them and quickly arrested them.
Claudie Mamane suffered an arm injury from the ordeal.
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