Search intensifies for mentally disabled teen lost in Thung Salaeng Luang forest

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod.

The fate of a 17 year old boy with a mental disability, who has been lost in the Thung Salaeng Luang forest for four days, remains unknown. The search operation is being intensified, with the discovery of a common route previously used by lost individuals. Aerial search teams from the 11th Division of the National Park Department are waiting for clear skies to deploy paragliders today.

Sompong Homsanit, the District Chief Officer of Wang Thong, along with Tossaporn Paphakul, Chief of the National Park Division, Seksan Lomplaeng, Chief of the Conservation and Resource Protection Division, and rescuers from Prasat Boonyathan Station, are amongst those coordinating the search for Veerayut Yabooch, also known as Sam.

Since September 9, they’ve been searching for him but have yet to find him.

A team of more than 20 officials has been divided into two groups to search for him. An aerial search team from the 11th Division of the National Park Department has been grounded due to poor weather conditions. Previously, a group of five villagers went to search for the teenager, who was lost in the forest. However, all five villagers ended up getting lost as well. Fortunately, they had a phone with them and were able to contact the operation centre, allowing officials to safely rescue them. However, Veerayut is still missing, reported KhaoSod.

Daeng Chaichana, a relative of the teenager, who was once lost in the Makrut forest in 2020, revealed that Veerayut went to the forest with another villager to collect forest products.

That villager returned earlier and told Daeng and other relatives that Veerayut had returned home from the forest. It was later discovered that Veerayut hadn’t returned home, prompting them to alert the village headman and start another search.

The Makrut forest in Wang Nok Aen subdistrict, Wang Thong district, Phitsanulok province, adjacent to Thung Salaeng Luang National Park, is familiar to most villagers who supplement their income by collecting forest products. Despite their familiarity with the area, some villagers have been lost due to heavy rainfall altering the forest’s appearance.

Previously, four people were lost for five days, making headlines in May 2020. This required officials to conduct a thorough search on land and air before they could be safely rescued from the forest.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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