A Chinese woman fell into a fast-moving stream and drowned while on a jungle trekking tour in Chiang Mai. Several other tourists on the same tour also fell into the water, but survived.
The tour group consisted of visitors from the US, the UK, Germany, China and Cambodia, among others. They were all on a trekking tour to Huay Satan Waterfall in Pang Koh village in Mu 3 area which had been organised by a local tour operator.
Pol Col Sakon Gaeosa, who serves as an investigation inspector at Mae Taeng police station in Chiang Mai, received news of the accident at around 17:00 on Tuesday, September 5. His officers, the Chiang Mai Tourist Police and district administration officials were seen at the accident site supported by volunteers from the local rescue foundation.
Making a statement about the incident, Pol Col Sakon said: “When we arrived, we found two groups, one with Asian members and the other one with travellers from mostly Western countries. The tourists , who had suffered minor injuries in the water, told us that a 26-year-old Chinese girl named Yang Boyang had fallen in and then been washed downstream as a result of the strong current. Sadly, Ms Yang’s body was found an hour later – some 1,000 metres further down the river from where she fell in.”
Farang Deaths managed to interview a British tourist who was part of the tour group and witnessed the accident. He claims the group set out after breakfast at around 13:00 despite strong signs that it was going to rain. “Some members raised their concerns, but the Thai tour guide brushed them off, seeing rain as some kind of a challenge,” he said.
According to his account, after about 100 metres into the trek, the guide took the group along a difficult route that led towards the waterfall. Our witness reported that around 2 o’clock, they arrived at a stream, but found it too strong to wade through. Instead, the tour guide urged the group to cross the stream by hopping from rocks and logs. The witness, who prefers to remain nameless, and his girlfriend helped everyone to get to the other side of the bank.”
He told us: “Everyone in my group made it to the other side except me and my girlfriend. A Japanese man from the other group lost his balance and fell into the water taking Ms Yang, who was clinging to his arm, with him. Before the fall, she looked very scared. I don’t think she knew how to handle the situation.”
Describing what happened next, this witness said, a girl whom he thought was German, a friend of Ms Yang and her boyfriend jumped into the water to try and save her as well as himself. All five were carried downstream in a flash. He reports, “I managed to grab a tree branch, but it snapped off. The current ripped off most of my clothes and I was swept another 50 metres down the river until I managed to get hold of a banana tree trunk and pull myself out of the river.” He suffered a swollen left foot and abrasions on his shins.
Everyone managed to crawl out of the river, but Ms Yang was nowhere to be seen. According to the witness we spoke to, the tour guide initially wanted to wait for authorities instead of trying to look for Ms Yang himself. However, the rest of the group insisted they start looking for her immediately.
An hour later, her body was found about 1,000 metres downstream with extensive injuries. “Her face was so badly injured, I couldn’t look at it.” said the British tourist, adding: “Two people in our group tried to administer first aid, but it was too late. She had already passed away.”
Rescue volunteers transported Ms Yang’s body to a Chiang Mai hospital. Police have informed the Chinese Embassy who start the process of repatriating her body to her family in China. A post-mortem examination has been scheduled as a matter of course.
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