Dutchman Franciscus Johannes van Rossum left his wife in a blind panic after disappearing in the Thai province of Phetchaburi, but the 78-year-old has returned home
A missing pensioner who stopped by his local bar for a beer before getting lost in the Thai jungle for four days was found alive.
The Dutchman Franciscus Johannes van Rossum, 78, was last seen in a local bar drinking five bottles before riding his motorcycle to Phetchaburi province on August 31.
His Thai wife, Rachot Chanwijit, 61, was concerned after he didn’t return home that evening, so she went to the bar but the owner said the man left early.
The retired expat from Utrecht then made two calls on the morning of September 1 and 2, saying he was lost during a storm in the Khong Ta Bang forest and reported the incident to the authorities who dispatched search parties.
Locals noticed his motorcycle and found him nearby at 11 p.m. on Friday evening, September 3rd. He slept in a puddle after a heavy rain shower and was covered with mosquito bites.
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Franciscus said, relieved, “I thought I was going to die. My cell phone battery was dead, my motorcycle ran out of gas and it was raining. There was nothing to eat.
“I was so relieved to hear the locals. They saved my life. I am so happy to be safe and to see my wife again.”
Ms. Rachot said, “I tried to call him the night he was last seen, but he didn’t answer, so I went to the bar. He wasn’t there.
“Early in the morning of September 1st, I got a call from him saying that he had ridden into the forest but did not know the exact coordinates of where he was.”
The worried woman added that their conversation was cut off because it had rained heavily and the man called again the next day on September 2nd.
She said, “He called me again the next day and said his phone battery was about to run out and the motorcycle was running out of oil. He said he was exhausted and needed help, so I called the police.”
The officers began the search and tried to track his movements by interviewing those who last saw him.
The latest evidence of his whereabouts was recorded on CCTV footage in the Kaeng Krachan district, which was about 25 miles from the bar.
Shopkeeper Bunteam Kiawgaew, who had last seen the man, said, “Franciscus came from 2pm to 5pm to have five bottles of beer and then left. I don’t know where he was going after he finished drinking.”
A local Buddhist temple monk Phramongkol Mangkharo said he saw the pensioner park his motorcycle in front of the monastery, who looked drunk before leaving the place but did not know where he was going.
Rescue workers, police officers and villagers helped find the Dutch pensioner before he was finally found.
He was dehydrated, exhausted, and hungry with a few minor cuts and scratches on his body, but had no serious injuries.
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