American tourist rescued from 4-hour nightmare in Pattaya sewers

Photo via KhaoSod

An American tourist was rescued from the sewers beneath Pattaya, eastern Thailand, yesterday after getting trapped in the murky, pungent pipe system for more than four hours.

A security guard was bewildered when he heard a voice coming from beneath a covered drain at the entrance of Soi 8 Thep Prasit, Moo 11, Nong Prue subdistrict, Bang Lamung district. He followed the sound and called for help right away when he saw the foreign man, wearing a single pair of shorts, submerged in Pattaya’s subterranean wastewater.

The trapped tourist attracted a crowd by the time rescue workers from the Sawang Boriboon Foundation was called to the scene at 7.30pm. Rescue workers removed the iron sewer grate and successfully pulled the tourist out of the 3-metre-deep hole. The American was clearly exhausted and asked for water from the rescue team.

Tourist Police and officers from Mueang Pattaya Police Station travelled to the scene to find out what happened to the tourist, who introduced himself as Jonathan from America.

The 36 year old informed the police that he arrived in Thailand on Friday, May 12, and was travelling with his girlfriend, also American. The couple had been staying at a condo along Thappraya Road about 2 kilometres from where Jonathan was rescued.

According to Jonathan, he was walking back to the condo sometime in the afternoon when he suddenly fell into an uncovered drain into the sewer. However hard he tried, he couldn’t climb out.

Jonathan said he shouted for hours but no one could hear his muffled cries for help. So, Jonathan waded through the sludge in the dark looking for a way out. Until, after four long hours, he was discovered by the security guard.

The security guard, 26 year old Chalee, said he was riding his motorbike through Pattaya when he stopped to buy a bottle of water at a convenience store.

Chalee said he heard a foreign man’s voice crying out. He followed the sound to find Jonathan trapped beneath the covered pipe. Chalee said he was shocked but called for help right away.

Police said that Jonathan didn’t appear to have any injuries or wounds from his ordeal in the sewers, so police escorted him back to his condo for a shower and some rest.

Sanook reports that the police said they will question the tourist again once he has recovered from the ordeal because the information he gave was “not very useful.”

Police said that Jonathan was slurring his speech. Police said that he didn’t say much apart from that he was a sports coach who had entered Thailand as a tourist with his girlfriend after travelling in Cambodia. Police said they’re still not sure how he ended up in the drain.

Pattaya News

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.