PHUKET, PATONG: A young Norwegian tourist who fell from his eighth-story hotel room Tuesday morning miraculously survived with only minor injuries.
Fearing the worst, Kathu Police Duty Officer Nitikorn Rawang and rescue workers from the Kusolharm Foundation rushed to the scene.
There they found 26-year-old Norwegian Hans Christian Dalen lying on the ground.
He was barely conscious, but still very much alive.
In fact, the tourist might well have passed out hours beforehand from simple intoxication, as he had been up all night drinking with some new friends he met while out on the town in Patong, the center of Phuket’s vibrant nightlife.
Mr Dalen told the Gazette from his bed at Phuket International Hospital that he and a friend, also Norwegian, had that night befriended three Thai women – two of them ladyboys (transexuals) – and invited them back to his room for a nightcap.
After a few hours, Mr Dalen and his friend asked the three Thais to leave. When they refused, a fight broke out and one of the ladyboys hit Mr Dalen in the face before running away, he said.
Undeterred, the two Scandinavians continued their drinking session right through dawn.
Standing out in the morning light, Mr Dalen suddenly lost his footing and fell off the room’s small balcony, he said.
By sheer luck or divine providence, the area right below his window was – like much of Phuket these days – occupied by a ramshackle workers’ camp. Mr Dalen landed with a crash onto its corrugated zinc roof, then fell through to the ground below with a thud.
Remarkably, the zinc roofing sufficiently broke his fall and he did not break his back or go into a coma – as incorrectly reported in one lurid and highly inaccurate account of the accident in the Thai-language media.
Mr Dalen was rushed to Phuket International Hospital where he was treated for serious bruises and a lacerated left hand that required stitches – but no broken bones.
“I fell because I was drunk. I’m very lucky not only to be alive but to have escaped with only minor injuries,” he said.
Doctors told him he was well enough to go home after spending one night in the hospital.
Mr Dalen said he planned to return to his room at the Phuket Palace and enjoy the rest of his holiday before returning to Norway on January 25.
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