Lost English teenager rescued in Vietnam national park

By Gia Chinh   April 20, 2024 | 05:15 am PT
Lost English teenager rescued in Vietnam national park
Henwood Josheph Thomas (C) on his way back to his hotel after getting lost and found in Hoang Lien Son national park in northern Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Lai Chau police
A teenager from England has been rescued after getting lost for eight hours in Lau Chai Province national park, home to Mount Fansipan, Inchochina's tallest, in Vietnam's remote northern borderlands.

Henwood Joseph Thomas, 18, began a solo exploration of Hoang Lien National Park at around 8 a.m. Friday. By 11:30 p.m. the same day, he was lost and called the hotel where he had a room with his phone battery already running low.

Lai Chau Police determined that Thomas was lost in the area between Lai Chau and Lao Cai provinces, where the terrain is treacherous and it had begun raining. Twenty firefighters and rescue personnel, along with 32 police officers and medics, were dispatched in rescue search party for him that night.

At around 8 a.m. Saturday, Thomas was found on the outskirts of a forest in the O Quy Ho Pass area. He was fatigued and suffered light injuries. His phone battery was dead.

Thomas was taken to his hotel in the nearby historic tourist resort town Sa Pa, Lao Cai, where he was supplied with food.

"Right after his health and state of mind was stabilized, and knowing many people had searched for him through the night, Thomas hugged the officers to say thank you," said a Lai Chau Police representative.

Thomas wrote a thank-you letter to express his gratitude.

He said it was his first time in Vietnam, and though he encountered issues, but was helped by the Vietnamese police, and that made the ordeal a "good memory" for him.

Hoang Lien National Park, located 1,000-3,000 m above sea level, crosses frontier areas in remote Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces near the Chinese border.

It is home to several species of animals and plants, including several endangered creatures.

Tourists often travel to parts of the national park from Sa Pa, with destinations including the views from the peak of Mount Fansipan, and the picturesque O Quy Ho Pass.

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