KO PHA-NGAN – A young 22 year-old backpacker has described the painful choice she had to make to escape a abduction attempt on the Island of Ko Pha-ngan in Southern Thailand.
Rachel Turner, 22, spent a year studying in Shanghai before she made the spontaneous decision to travel around Thailand in August 2017, reports Yahoo7 News.
She ended up in Ko Pha-ngan, an island famous for its alcohol-fueled Full Moon Party held in the depths of the rain-forest. Encouraged by her fellow backpackers to start drinking early in the day, Ms Turner soon found herself out of control in a foreign environment.
“Everyone is going crazy and I just got swept up in it all,” she said “You think you’re untouchable but that is just not the case.”
She remembers starting to feel ill and realizing she needed to leave the festival. But she struggled to find an affordable tuk-tuk taxi back to her hostel.
As she walked alone down the road, she was approached by a man wearing a vest who claimed to be a motorbike taxi driver.
Ms Turner says she accepted the ride because he “looked completely legit”, but it wasn’t long before the man’s behavior started to give off serious red flags. He drove past her hostel and told her he knew somewhere better they could go.
When the intoxicated woman eventually realized the man had no intention of getting her home safely, she asked him to pull over, reports Yahoo7 News.
“Shut up, you’re coming with me, you’re not going to the hostel,” he replied.
With no one around to hear her scream for help, Ms Turner realized she had three options before her: she could go with him, she could try to cause a crash or she could grab his arm to slow him down.
She went for the latter, pulling at his arm and forcing him to brake enough for her to jump off the bike. The rough landing tore the skin from her right leg, but she managed to lie motionless on the side of the road long enough to fool her would-be abductor.
“He yelled out, ‘Are you dead?’ I didn’t move and he yelled ‘shit’ and drove off.”
Once he was gone, Ms Turner got up and stumbled all the way back to her hostel to treat her badly scraped leg. It wasn’t until the next morning that she realized how much danger she had been in.
“I remember sitting on the ferry the next day and I just broke down crying,” she said. “The stupidity and severity of the situation just hit me.”
Suddenly desperate to get home, she called the airline to change her flight.
One year on from the terrifying ordeal, Rachel explained to Yahoo7 News that she knows she put herself in that vulnerable position.
“Thailand is a beautiful country, it’s just that at the end of the day, I wasn’t thinking, I got carried away and I made mistakes that are now so recognizable.”