A British man in his 70s who had been missing for three days has been found alive in a remote patch of forest in northeastern Thailand. Barry Leonard Wheeler, 72, disappeared while on a motorcycle on his way to his friends. A local fisherman came across him on a rock formation.
A member of the local volunteer team who took him to safety told the Associated Press news agency that the Briton climbed hoping to see a path from above that would get him out of a remote patch of forest. Wheeler told him he had eaten nothing for three days and had sucked rainwater from the rocks using the grass stalks as straw.
Video footage showed the seventy-year-old boy cautiously walking out of the woods, propped up on a stick and escorted by rescuers. He wore nothing but socks, shorts, and a T-shirt. Wheeler looked tired and had several cuts to his legs, but appeared to be in good health.
I admire the work these people do. It makes me cry. They work well
“I’ve never been happier in my life,” he said. “My feet hurt and I’m really hot, but other than that I’m happy. I admire the work these people are doing. It makes me cry. They’re doing well,” he said between tears.
This was followed by an emotional meeting with his Thai partner. They hugged each other tightly and let their tears flow before thanking the rescuers. “Thank you to all the teams that kept fighting with me,” said Tawee Chaisanrit, 49, holding hands together in a traditional Thai gesture of respect.
The woman later told the news agency in a phone conversation that her partner left his home on Tuesday, but did not return. She was very worried because it was raining heavily and searched for him in vain. Authorities warned on Wednesday. Wheeler told her he wanted to visit friends on his motorcycle, but because of the rain he took a different route and got lost. According to her, the Briton is retired and has lived in Thailand for about fifteen years.
The jungles of Thailand are home to many wild animals, including tigers, leopards, bears and elephants, but rescuers say the jungle area where Wheeler has resided is not considered dangerous.
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