Father And Son Who Fled Bombing In Vietnam War Emerge From Jungle After 40 Years

Vietnam Man FoundScreengrabHo Van Lang

Two men have been have been found and brought back to society after living deep in the jungle for 40 years, Vietnamese state media reports.

In 1971 Ho Van Thanh, now 82, fled into the jungle with his 2-year-old son after his wife and two other children were killed when their house was bombed during the Vietnam War, Thanh Nien News reports.

Scott Neuman of NPR reports that on Wednesday Thanh and Ho Van Lang, now in his forties, were coaxed out of their 20-foot-high treehouse — which was stocked with arrows and other makeshift hunting tools — after surviving for decades on corn they cultivated in addition to fruits, wild rice, and cassava roots from the forest.

They had been discovered after villagers who ventured about 25 miles into the forest alerted authorities after seeing two men wearing tree bark loin clothes.

Thanh, who has forgotten the mainstream Kinh language, had to be carried out of the jungle on a hammock because he was too weak to walk. The younger Ho only knows a few words of the local dialect.

Harriet Alexander of The Telegraph reports that another son of Thanh told Vietnamese media tracked down that he had discovered his father and brother 20 years ago but had not been able to persuade them to return to civilisation.

“We know he wants to escape my house to go back to the forest, so we have to keep an eye on him now,” Ho Van Tri, who was 6-months-old when his father fled with his brother, told local media.

Thanh Nien News notes that nearby was a field, which is about one hectare (2.47 acres), where they planted sugarcane and tobacco. The pair kept reportedly kept a small fire in the house and smoked tobacco to keep warm on cold days.

The father reportedly kept his soldier’s trousers neatly folded in a corner along with a little red coat his son was thought to have been wearing when they fled.

A bunch of pictures can be found here, and below is a video of the pair:

The Indochina War, centered in Vietnam, was the most intense aerial bombing campaign in history as it saw the U.S. Air Force drop a total of 6,162,000 tons of bombs, other ordnance, and chemical weapons from 1964 to August 15, 1973.

Here’s a map of U.S. bombing data in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

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