Hanoi, Vietnam -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/23/2013 -- An astonishing story of two men emerging from the jungle has surfaced this week. In 1971 Ho Van Thanh abandoned his village after a mine exploded and killed his wife and two of his children. He retreated deep into the jungle with his baby son Ho Van Lang. Not much was seen or heard of them since, until amazingly local people foraging for firewood spotted two men wearing loin cloths and a search went out. Another so Ho Van Tri has told Vietnamese newspapers that he found the pair twenty years ago, but could not pursuade them to give up their jungle lifestyle. This was deep in the forest region of the Tay Tra district of Quang Ngai province.
After 42 years in the wilderness, it took just five hours to find the father and son, now aged 82 and 41. The father was ill and too weak to walk to civilization. He was carried out on a stretcher as his son, who has never spoke to anyone other than his father, followed behind.
The father has forgotten most of his local language the region’s Cor dialect and the son has but a few words. They are believed to have survived by growing vegetables and foraging. They even grew tobacco and lived in a timber built treehouse. They wore crudely fashioned loin cloths and nothing else. Somehow they have managed to survive in reasonable health on their own for a staggering four decades and more.
They were taken to a hospital and checked out where they were found to be in reasonable health. The old man is very weak through a recent illness but his son is in remarkable shape. They were living an ordinary village lifestyle when the incendiary devastated their home killing their family members. Ho Van Thanh was so traumatised by the bombing that he simply ran into the jungle and was too frightened to return.
It is thought that as time passed they didn’t know whether or not the war was over, and simply opted for the lonely life in the thick undergrowth. The authorities are now trying to decide how to integrate them into normal society, not an easy task. The old man is very frail and his son, although fit has no language skills and certainly no social skills.
The US dropped millions of tonnes of ordinance on Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in the bloody conflict that lasted until 1975, with defeat at the hands of the North Vietnamese. The reunification of Vietnam followed shortly after. The devastation to Cambodia has lasted until the present day, with huge areas of the country suffering poverty and continuing damage to its people through unexploded mines.
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