Lost brothers survive 15 hour jungle nightmare

By Duc Hung   February 11, 2020 | 04:44 pm PT
Lost brothers survive 15 hour jungle nightmare
Huy (L) and his younger brother. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Han.
Deep in a forest, it was raining heavily. Huy, 11, was picking banana leaves to protect him and his 8-year-old brother from the rain.

They broke some small branches and collected leaves to spread and lie on the ground. It was growing darker, and they were getting really scared. 

Nguyen Tuan Huy said in the afternoon of February 4, his father brought him and his brother, Nguyen Tuan Ha, to Khe Na Forest, Tho Dien commune, central Ha Tinh province's Vu Quang district, about 3 kilometers from their home. His father did not inform or contact anyone. A few hours later, when everyone got hungry and tired he left them both in the forest, saying he was going to buy some milk. 

Waiting for their father to return in vain, Huy and Ha took turns shouting their father and mother's names, in the hope someone would hear. When darkness covered the mountain, knowing he could no longer reach anyone, Huy understood they were abandoned and lost.  

At night, it rained heavily. The two brothers were soaking wet but did not dare leave, afraid of stepping on snakes or other poisonous animals. Huy said he was very tired and scared at the time but did not dare cry because he worried Ha would cry too, drawing unnecessary attention from wild predators.

The 11-year-old boy was aware that without his father by his side, he had become his younger brother's protector. In the dark, Huy picked up a branch and walked around, breaking off two banana leaves to cover his head. Next, he broke more branches and spread them on the ground to lie on. 

The two brothers hugged each other under a bush by a stream. Ha soon fell asleep, while Huy did not dare to, afraid he would lose his brother. "Occasionally I dosed, yet the sound of insects buzzing in my ears woke me up," Huy explained. 

Staying awake to watch his brother the entire night, Huy sighed with relief when morning broke. The two brothers, still calling for their parents and looking for a way out, searched around for edible fruits to ease their hunger, but to no avail. 

At 9.30 a.m. on February 5th, while sitting under a tree near the stream, Huy and Ha were finally rescued by local authorities. 

Ha said he was very frightened after spending 15 hours in the forest, despite being held and watched over by his brother. Sometimes, he wanted to cry out with despair but did not dare.

Huy is carried to safety. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Han.

Huy is carried to safety. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Han.

According to Nguyen Dang Nhan, chairman of the People's Committee of Tho Dien Commune, on February 4, the boys’ mother Nguyen Thi Tho, 36, reported her husband and two children missing. Authorities subsequently mobilized 100 personnel to find them. 

At 6 a.m. on February 5, amid the search, Thang, the boys' father, returned home in a state of panic and exhaustion. "My wife and I had a quarrel so I took the two children into the forest but got lost. I couldn’t remember where they were." Due to the challenging forest terrain, it took many hours before the children were discovered. 

"The mother, a preschool teacher, recently recovered from brain tumor surgery. The father has a mental illness and liver problem. The older son suffers from hemophilia. The family is in a difficult situation," Nhan stated. 

The mother said when she found Huy, she was very happy since he had no scratches, otherwise, he would lose a lot of blood, which could prove dangerous. Due to financial trouble, she and her husband tend to have a lot of arguments, she confessed. 

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