Vietnam War Victims Discovered Deep in the Jungle, 40 years later.
Above Photo: A Skyraider drops napalm and white phosphorous during the Vietnam War.
An 82-year-old man and his 41-year-old son have been found living in a forest in central Vietnam after they went missing during the country’s war with the US.
The older man could communicate a little in the Cor ethnic minority language, but his son only knew a few words, an official at Tay Tra commune in Quang Ngai province said on Thursday.
Ho Van Thanh was last seen running into the woods with his then-infant son Ho Van Lang after a bomb exploded in his home, killing his wife and two other children in 1973.
They were discovered when two people from a nearby village ventured 40 kilometres into the forest looking for firewood and spotted the two men’s tree house. The villagers reported the find to local authorities who recovered the pair on Wednesday.
The two men survived by cultivating forest vegetables and hunting animals, and they had no contact with the outside world.
Photographs in local media showed the younger man with dishevelled hair wearing a loin cloth made from tree bark.
Thanh, who was fighting for North Vietnam when the bomb exploded, left behind another son, Ho Van Tri.
“My father is very weak and the doctors are taking care of him, but my brother’s health is fine even though he looks very thin,” said Tri, who was six months old when his father fled into the jungle.
“My uncle doesn’t understand much of what is said to him, and he doesn’t want to eat or even drink water,” Bien said.
“He’s very sad. He doesn’t say anything now,” he said. “We know he wants to escape my house to go back to the forest so we have to keep an eye on him now.”
The discovery has shaken the small community, which thought the two men dead.
“No one could imagine Thanh and his son could live 40 years in isolation in the hard conditions of the jungle,” said villager Ho Van Xanh.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
For POWs and MIAs in Laos, see:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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