New York teacher, 23, breaks back after plunging off a 150ft cliff while fleeing sex attacker in Thailand who she asked for directions
- Hannah Gavios, 23, got lost on Railay Beach in the resort of Krabi
- A local worker offered to help her back to her hotel on Thursday
- Instead he led her into the jungle and tried to rip off her clothes
- She ran off the edge of a cliff edge in the darkness while trying to escape
- Thai local Apai Ruengvorn, 28, has admitted to the attack
A female backpacker has described the horrific moment she broke her back in a 150ft fall down a cliff while fleeing a sex attacker in Thailand.
Hannah Gavios, 23, from Bayside in New York, got lost on pitch-black Railay Beach in the resort of Krabi and went into a local tourist shop asking for help back to her hotel at a nearby bay on Thursday.
A local worker offered to show her the way but instead led her into the jungle where they started climbing up a hilly path.
Ms Gavios, who was still tired after arriving in Thailand just the day before, innocently followed him before realizing she was in danger.
"I really thought I was going to die," she said.
Hannah Gavios, 23, from New York, has told how she was attacked by a local man in Thailand
Ms Gavios was eventually rescued after falling down the cliff by locals who raised the alarm
Rescue workers carefully carried Ms Gavios down the remainder of the cliff on a stretcher
"It was dark around 11pm and the only way to get back to my accommodation was by crossing the cliffs.
"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," Ms Gavios said.
She recalled how she followed him up a trail and kept asking "is this the right way?".
"While we were walking he grabbed me and was holding me down and trying to take off my clothes.
Ms Gavios, who was visiting Thailand on a break from teaching English in Vietnam, has bravely waived her anonymity surrounding the attack
Ms Gavios"s attacker - a Thai local named as Apai Ruengvorn, 28 - has reportedly admitted to the crime
The 23-year-old got lost on pitch-black Railay Beach in the resort of Krabi and went into a local tourist shop asking for help back to her hotel
"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," Ms Gavios said.
"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.
"I started walking back to where I came from. Once there was distance between us I started running."
She fled but blindly ran off the edge of a cliff edge in the darkness.
"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," she said.
Apai Ruengvorn (pictured) was made to reenact the assault by Thai police
The attacker reportedly has no job but often offers to act as a guide for tourists
"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."
Ms Gavios - who has waived her anonymity - fractured her spine and smashed her head on the way down before she landed crippled at the bottom of the cliff.
To her terror her attacker - a Thai local named as Apai Ruengvorn, 28 - scrambled after her and sexually molested her as she lay helpless.
"He heard me screaming and moaning and he came down and climbed down the mountain and starting crying and praying.
The 23-year-old American tourist was not located until daybreak on Friday when the search team found her lying on a rock 15 metres down the 45-metre deep cliff
Ms Gavios fell from the Railay cliff while she was trying to get back to her resort at Ao Tonsai bay
She was transported to hospital on the nearby island of Phuket on Friday
The English teacher fractured her spine and smashed her head after falling down the cliff
Railay Beach is only accessible by water and a water ambulance was sent to rescue her
The area is hugely popular with British and American tourists who visit it for its beautiful beaches and dramatic cliffs
"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 of his pants and masturbated on me.
"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"," Ms Gavios said.
After a couple of hours Ruengvorn left but then returned later with other people who raised the alarm and Ms Gavios was rescued and taken to hospital.
She is now being treated at Bangkok Hospital in Phuket and Ms Gavios"s parents have flown from their New York home to be at her bedside.
A local man offered to show Ms Gavios back to her hotel but instead led her into the jungle
Ms Gavios, pictured here with children in Vietnam, says she"s "taking one day at a time" after the attack
Hannah Gavios, 23, got lost on pitch-black Railay Beach in the resort of Krabi and went into a local tourist shop asking for help back to her hotel
Thai police Lt Songpol Bunchai confirmed Ms Gavios"s story and added that a man has been charged with committing obscene behavior toward another person and causing serious injury
Ms Gavios" father is pictured here arriving at Phuket airport after hearing about his daughter"s attack
Ruengvorn has admitted the sickening attack last Thursday evening and is now facing several years behind bars.
Ms Gavios said: "I"m taking one day at a time. But I"m really glad my legs aren"t broken. I want to stay in Asia and return to teaching in Vietnam.
"The police have told me that the man will stay in prison for between five and ten years."
Ms Gavios is a former graphic design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
During her travels in South East Asia, Ms Gavios is believed to have spent time teaching English in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as well as Lao Cai Province in Vietnam.
According to her Facebook page she began working at Globe Education Link as an English teacher on August 7 but had been in the region for a few months before visiting countries popular with backpackers such as Laos.
Pictures in local media show Ruengvorn staging a crime re-enactment pointing to the spot where Ms Gavios fell.
He was been charged with committing obscene behavior toward another person and causing serious injury.
Lt Songpol Bunchai confirmed Ms Gavios"s story and added: "The suspect admitted that he became aroused and tried to molest the woman.
"She was frightened and ran away to escape him. She fell down the cliffs."
New York teacher, 23, breaks back after plunging off a 150ft cliff while fleeing sex attacker in Thailand who she asked for directionsNew York teacher, 23, breaks back after plunging off a 150ft cliff while fleeing sex attacker in Thailand who she asked for directions