Herb collector saved in 16-hour daring mountain rescue operation in southern Thailand

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod.

A high-intensity rescue operation managed to save the life of a 55 year old man from a precarious mountain fall in the Chao Pra Mountain, located in Trang province in southern Thailand. This formidable rescue mission, which spanned 16 hours, was carried out by more than 30 expert rescue workers who found the injured man within a crevice on the mountain, due to a fall while he was collecting forest herbs yesterday.

Trapped in a rocky crevice in the Phan Waterfall National Park area, Suchat Chu-on was first reported lost at 9am yesterday. He’d been trekking to collect forest herbs near the Bat Cave when disaster struck. Somehow, he managed to call for help from a close friend.

The rescue operation was relentless. Friends accompanied by relatives formed a foot team to rescue Suchat. The path they had to take was approximately 2 kilometres from the ground to the victim, which took them around two hours. They managed to reach him at around 12pm yesterday. Unfortunately, Suchat had suffered severe injuries from a large rock causing one of his leg bones to shatter, and he was unable to support himself. His companions, exhausted and hindered by the limestone mountain’s sharp rocks and steep slopes managed to only drag him down 50 metres, reported KhaoSod.

At around 2pm, a notification was sent to Komkrit Kongkleang, the headman of district Palian, and Napabhat Musikachiam, the head of Pan Waterfall National Park to call for help from the local rescue unit.

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The rescuers gave Suchat some initial first aid as he was losing a considerable amount of blood. At around 4pm, a specialised rescue team arrived with officers from Southern Cliff Rescue Operation, Southern Rope System Rescue, Siam Rescue Unit, Siam United Heart Foundation, Ruam Jai Poo In Foundation in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Rom Sai Foundation in Satun, and Phatthalung Charity Foundation, totalling 12 officers. The team trekked the slippery, rocky terrain up to the injured man, a journey which took them another two hours.

At around 8pm, after planning, Suchat was placed on a camping stretcher. Using a rope-pulley system attached to trees, they started to bring him down. By 2.44am today, with the help of a relief rescue team who took over, he was finally brought down to the flat ground, a gruelling process that took over 10 hours. Suchat was then immediately rushed to Pa Lian Hospital and then transferred to Trang Hospital.

This extensive rescue operation involved more than 30 officers and also the assistance of over 100 locals from the surrounding areas who helped throughout the long 16-hour ordeal. The rescued victim’s son, 25 year old Wisanu Chu-on, revealed that his father had left home to collect herbs around 9am. He noted that his father didn’t often go out to find herbs alone, and had no inkling about the impending disaster.

South Thailand NewsThailand News

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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