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Two Turkish tourists – a man and wife couple – who had gotten lost in a Thalang forest while hiking yesterday afternoon, were finally rescued by authorities late last night and have been returned safely to their Patong hotel.
At 7:10pm yesterday (June 13), tourist police were alerted about the lost tourists by staff at the Palm Beach Hotel in Patong, who had earlier received a phone call from their guests asking for help after they got lost somewhere in Khao Prateaw National Park.
Tourist police then coordinated with Thalang police, who dispatched Kusoldharm rescue workers to the national park in Thepkrassatri (sub district) to join park officials in the search for the Turkish tourists.
At the park’s parking lot, the search crew found a sole, white Honda Click motorbike parked. Near the bike with Phuket plates, authorities also found a map of Phuket.
Park officials said that the bike had been parked there since about noon, while the Khao Prataew Nature and Wildlife Learning Centre visitor log revealed that Ms Pinar Burak, 34, and her husband, later named as Mr Bulent Burak, had entered the park at 1.05pm, and were thought to be heading to Tonsai fall.
Though the couple had earlier sent a selfie of themselves at a tree they were waiting, authorities were unable to get a hold of the couple, whose mobile phone is thought to have died due low battery power.
Nonetheless, by 10.50pm the search party finally located the couple, who were in a weak, weary and thirsty state.
As the couple were low on energy, rescue workers had to gradually escort the two back down the trail, and by 11.43pm, they reached the meeting yard near Bang Pae Waterfall.
Finally, by about 20 minutes after midnight, the search party had escorted the Turkish couple safely to the parking lot, where they were met with a standing applause from an anxious group of volunteers and park officials who had prepared an ambulance to take the couple to hospital.
However, the couple insisted, in English and Spanish, that they had no injuries but were tired and only wished to have their rented motorbike returned to its owner and to return to their hotel for rest.
Officials happily complied with the couple’s wishes and sent them off to Patong via minivan.