Father and son found in Vietnamese jungle after 40 years

A father and son found living in a Vietnamese jungle after they went missing 40 years ago during the war with the United States.

Ho Van Thanh was last seen running into the forest with his infant son in 1973 after a bomb exploded in his home, killing his wife and his two eldest sons, reported the newspaper Dan Tri.

They were found in 2013 when two villagers ventured 40 kilometers into the central Vietnamese jungle looking for firewood and saw the two men’s treehouse.

The villagers notified the local authorities, who recovered the pair, now age 82 and 41, last Wednesday.

The father and son survived by hunting animals and cultivating vegetables, and had no contact with the outside world, according to reports. Photographs showed the son wearing a loin cloth made out of tree bark. They also made shirts out of the same material.

The father could speak a little in the Cor ethnic minority language, but his son only knew a few words, according to an official at Tay Tra commune in Quang Ngai province.

Thanh had been fighting for North Vietnam 40 years ago when the bomb exploded in his home.

“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, another son who was just six months old when his father fled into the jungle.

Thanh is receiving treatment at a medical center while his son is being looked after by his nephew, Ho Ven Bien.

“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 small community thought the two men were dead, and have been shaken by the discovery.
“No one could imagine Thanh and his son could live 40 years in isolation in the hard conditions of the jungle,” said Ho Van Xanh, a local villager.

The population of the Cor ethnic group is 33,800 in Vietnam, mostly in the Quang Ngai and Quang Nam provinces. Most of them make a living farming cassava, grains and cinnamon. Image/CNN

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