By Mark Hallum
A 23-year-old Bayside woman was hospitalized after she was allegedly sexually assaulted while on vacation in the town of Krabi, Thailand, The Phuket News reported.
Hannah Gavios fell 150 feet off a cliff while trying to escape her attacker at night and is currently being treated for a broken back. Her alleged attacker, Apai Raingworchai, 28, was hired as a guide but led her into a secluded area and began harassing Gavios. Ao Nang Deputy Police Chief Lt Col Winai Poonsawas told the Phuket News. He is currently in police custody and awaiting trial.
The incident happened Sept. 1, the day after Gavios, an English teacher in Vietnam, arrived in the country. According to the Daily Mail, she became lost.
Gavios had hired the man near a tourist shop to show her around Railay, a popular destination for rock climbing and sight-seeing, according to police.
“I didn’t get the best feeling about him, but I was tired and wanted to get home. I’d been traveling for 16 hours, so I guess I wasn’t feeling myself,” Gavios told the Daily Mail.
At about 11 p.m., Raingworchai allegedly began harassing Gavios, who fought back and started to run, the Mail reported.
“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,” Gavios said.
Raingworchai followed Gavios to the bottom of the cliff, where she was conscious but unable to move, and allegedly continued to assault her, Gavios told the Daily Mail. It was light out before rescue workers arrived.
“I was stuck with this crazy person,” Gavios said. “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.”
Poonsawas told The Phuket News that Gavios’ account of the incident closely matched that of her attacker, who claimed to have assaulted her, before and after the fall, but had not raped her.
The deputy police chief said Raingworchai is being held in Krabi Provincial Court and facing assault causing serious injury and charges of sexual assault, according to The Phuket News. Raingworchai is a homeless man who got by on food from hand-outs and odd jobs, Poonsawas said.
Gavios is currently recovering from spinal surgery.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall