Missing German Tourist Found After 12 Hours in Jungle

Koh Chang NewsBangkok Post, 7 December 2016

A 60-year-old German tourist who went missing in the jungle of Koh Chang in Trat province on Tuesday was found on Wednesday after about 12 hours alone by herself.

Christine Junghanel, was with a group of about 10 elderly tourists who stayed at Klong Prao Resort on the island.

On Tuesday afternoon, the group went for a tour to Klong Phlu waterfall in the Koh Chang National Park. On the way to the waterfall, Mrs Junghanel separated from the group, telling them she would go sightseeing alone.  She said they should not worry about her as she had visited the island once before.

On Tuesday night, Koh Chang police received a report that the woman was missing.

A search party of about 50 soldiers, police, park officials and rescue volunteers spent the night looking for her in the vicinity of the waterfall, without success.

They regrouped on Wednesday morning and resumed the search around 10.20am.

About 20 minutes later searchers were informed by radio that a team had found Mrs Junghanel only 500 metres from the Khlong Phlu waterfall office.

She was safe, but tired and eagerly accepted food, water and fruit.

Mrs Junghanel said that after parting from the group she continued walking uphill until dark. She headed back to rejoin the group but lost her way.  She decided to stay overnight on the mountain, about 2 kilometres from the waterfall office.

On Wednesday morning, she walked downhill and met a group of rescuers, to her colleagues’ delight.


  • So I went here today. We can assume that she went up the nature trail, because that’s the only way to go ‘uphill’ from the waterfall, and it’s the only path leading off the main waterfall walk. They closed the nature trail right after this incident so it all fits.

    When you’ve climbed up the trail about 200 metres, there are 2 paths, one of which leads down to the top of Khlong Phlu waterfall, and the other a bit further on, which I believe is the starting point of the trek to the other side of the island. Off this second path there is also another route down to the top of Khlong Phlu waterfall, but it emerges further along the river bed. You can ignore both these paths and carry on walking straight, which will continue on the nature trail. If you do that it’s easy enough to make your way back to the waterfall office, except one point where the path splits in two. I took the path which was more prominent, which turned out to be the right path, but it would be easy to choose the wrong path.

    If you take the first path down to the top of waterfall, there’s no real way to get lost. But if you take the second path, it can confuse you because half-way along it brings you to another river which is a bit smaller but would be easy to mistake for the main river that feeds Khlong Phlu. To further confuse you, if you carry on the path across the river bed and up the other side, there is eventually a sign which says ‘end of trail’ (this isn’t the main nature trail by the way, it’s just a one-off sign). But then the path just continues straight ahead, straight past the sign. So maybe she didn’t know whether this sign meant turn around and go back, or whether she thought the path ahead was a circular route, because these were exactly my thoughts too.

    After the ‘end of trail’ sign, about 100 metres on, bizarrely in the middle of nowhere there is a concrete picnic table and seats in good condition. Anybody seeing that would think they were on the correct route to get back to the office.

    But the path just continues on and on, straight and uphill. I think she took that path because that correlates with what she told them: “she continued walking uphill until dark”. I can’t see any other way to do that other than this.

    She was probably expecting to emerge at the office at any time and was probably going faster to try and make it before dark, when actually she was walking in the opposite direction. And by then it was too late and she gave up until morning and started walking back the way she came.

    To be fair to the national park staff, to use either of the first 2 paths I mentioned, you have to duck under a rope. Thais aren’t very adventurous and maybe they just assume tourists won’t do that, when of course many will.

  • It probably isn’t but this is a news story from Thailand where journalists never ask questions, they simply report what they are told.

  • Since the waterfall ‘closes’ at 5pm and she wasn’t found until 10am, that’s at least 17 hours, not 12.

    The search was only resumed at 10am? 4 hours after sunrise?

    Not convinced the reporting here is 100% accurate.

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