A 23-year-old American tourist has broken her back after falling down a cliff following an attempt to flee her sexual attacker on Thursday night.
Hannah Gavios is now recovering in a Bangkok hospital in Phuket with a spinal cord fracture and other injuries. Her distraught parents flew from their home in the US to stay by her bedside, the Mirror reports.
Gavios reportedly went to a local tourist shop looking for someone to help her back to her hotel in Krabi after she got lost on Railay Beach on Thursday night.
A local man identified as Apai Ruengvorn, 28, offered to help her. Before long, he guided her into the forest and then up a mountain.
Tired and desperate to get back to her hotel, Hannah had no choice but to trust her guide before realizing she was in danger.
“It was dark around 11pm and the only way to get back to my accommodation was by crossing the cliffs,” she said.
“I went inside a tourist shop and asked for help back to my hotel. They said it was dangerous to do at night so they told me to follow one of their workers.
”I didn’t get the best feeling about him but I was tired and wanted to get home. I’d been travelling for 16 hours so I guess I wasn’t feeling myself.”
While traveling up the cliff in darkness, the local man reportedly grabbed Gavios, pinned her to the ground and then tried ripping off her clothes.
Gavios fought back by repeatedly punching Ruengvorn in the face. Desperate to flee her sexual attacker, she bit off a part of his ear.
”I started punching him in the face and beating him up and biting off his ear. I was biting his ear so hard it almost came off. His ear was half torn off.
”He was in pain and asked me to stop, so we shook hands and he stopped but I was still nervous and he was still trying to harass me so there was no choice but to run.”
But in her frantic attempt to escape her attacker, Gavios, unable to see where she was going in the darkness, inadvertently ran towards the edge of the cliff, causing her to fall down 45 yards into an area just 15 meters from the water below.
”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.”
Crippled and in pain, Hannah said she started screaming as she lay helpless and motionless at the bottom of the cliff. She lay there for most of the night believing she would end up dead.
Ruengvorn reportedly heard her screaming and came down towards her. Shockingly, he continued his sexual assault towards her as she lay helpless.
Even as the attacker was molesting her, Gavios begged him to call for help. Eventually, Ruengvorn made some calls, but no one came during the rest of the night.
“He was feeling very guilty. I was begging him to call for help. He got on the phone and started calling and i thought somebody was coming but nobody came.
”I was stuck with this crazy person. I was in the woods in the bushes with wild snakes crawling on me while he was still continuing to harass me.
“He got on top of me. He took off his pants.
”He didn’t rape me but he did everything else. I really thought I was going to die.
”I honestly didn’t know what to do. 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.
”As soon as it got lighter I started calling for help. He kept saying ‘no police, no police’.”
Ruengvorn reportedly left in the early hours of the morning. Before long, Hannah heard him accompanied by his co-workers before an ambulance came.
Police officers took Ruengvorn into custody and then brought him to Ao Nang Police Station for questioning. He had scratches and bruises on his face and body, as reported by Coconuts Bangkok.
Police say that Ruengvorn had admitted to the sexual assault and will be sent to prison for between 5 and 10 years.
[Photo by Hannah Gavios/Getty Images]