45-meter fall, sexually assaulted backpacker Hannah Gavios shares story from hospital bed

A Facebook photo of Hannah Gavios

Hannah Gavios, 23, from New York, remains in the hospital with a fractured spine but has broken her silence on what happened after she fell 45 meters down a dark mountainside fleeing a Thai man that was trying to sexually assault her in Krabi on Thursday.

It’s not pretty. And isn’t likely to do much for Thailand’s tourism industry.

The volunteer “guide” who offered to walk her back to her hotel at 11pm on Thursday turned out to be anything but a good Samaritan.

After leading her into the dark, Apai Ruengvorn, 28, brutally attacked her, pinned her to the ground and tried to rip her clothes off. In the struggle, the young woman bit off part of his ear before running off into the night, reported The Mirror.

Unfortunately, she ran off the edge of an unseen cliff, falling 45 meters, fracturing her spine and smashing her head when she landed.

About the fall, she said, “It was pitch-black and, before I knew it, I was in mid-air falling off a cliff. I was honestly thinking I wouldn’t survive. I hit my head a few times and landed with a big bump. I was screaming in pain. It was the most painful thing ever. I felt like a total vegetable. I felt completely vulnerable. I couldn’t move anything.”

As she lay there, shocked and unable to feel her legs at all, she began screaming for help.

Unfortunately, the only person who hear her was Apai. He scrambled down the cliff after her but, instead of helping, he sexually molested her as she lay on the ground, unable to move.

He spent a few hours there, sexually assaulting the helpless girl. She said, “’He didn’t rape me but he did everything else. I really thought I was going to die. I just had to remain calm. Whenever I screamed, he was choking me so I had to try to keep cool and stay friendly with him.”

Eventually, he left her there, where she remained, terrified. She reported that there were snakes crawling on her and she believed she would die there.

In the morning, Apai returned with his co-workers, who called rescue workers that rushed her to the hospital where she remains with a broken back and other injuries.

Photo: The Phuket News

According to one of the girl’s family members, she is partially paralyzed from the waist down and it’s not clear if the damage is permanent, reported New York Post.

Gavios was traveling alone. She was on a vacation from Vietnam, where she teaches English. Her parents immediately flew over to be by her side and she says she wants to return to her teaching job after she heals.

Apai admitted the assault and confirmed Gavios’ story. He has been charged with obscene behavior toward another person and causing serious injury. He will serve a 5-10 year sentence.


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