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US man rescued from Thai sewer after 7 hours of being trapped


An American tourist has been rescued after being trapped for hours in a filthy sewer in Pattaya, Thailand, this week.

Jonathan Ioane Vaimaona, 36, was returning to his hotel when he fell into the sewer in the Jomtien area at around noon on Tuesday. He arrived in Thailand with his girlfriend on May 12, as per the Bangkok Post.

The Hawaii man reportedly wandered through the sewer for hours to look for a way out. The sewer was about 2 feet wide and 5 feet deep.

Vaimaona cried for help but there was no one around to hear him.

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“I just fell down a hole, and I didn't know where I was going,” he said, as per the Daily Mail. “It feels like I was in there for days. I don't remember what was happening.”

Vaimaona continued to wander until he heard voices coming from a light-emitting storm drain. Chalee Boonsri, a 26-year-old security guard, was heading toward a convenience store to buy soda when he heard his screaming.

“I looked around but didn't see anyone there. But when I looked at the pavement, I saw a man peeking at me from the drain,” Boonsri recalled.

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A local resident then called authorities for help, according to the Pattaya Mail.

By 8 p.m., rescuers managed to lift the drain’s metal grate and free Vaimaona.

Images from multiple reports show the American traveler emerging from the darkness without a shirt and covered in mud. While he did not appear to sustain injuries, he was said to be somewhat disoriented and had slurred speech.

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Vaimaona was washed and offered hydration at the scene. Following the rescue, he was escorted to police to receive further assistance.

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