American tourist is rescued from sewers in Thailand’s Sin City after manhole plunge


A US tourist has been rescued from sewers in Thailand‘s Sin City after he fell down an open manhole on the way back to his hotel.

Johnathan Vaimaona, 36, wandered around the underground sewage system for ‘what felt like days’ before finally hearing voices coming from a storm drain.

Residents heard the Hawaiian crying out for help and rescuers hauled him out of the 10ft hole in the resort city of Pattaya, known for its hedonistic nightclub scene.

Shirtless and covered in filth, video shows Vaimaona gulping down a soda and speaking to reporters after he was saved.

‘I was in front of the hotel and then I just came up and I don’t know where I’m at,’ he said.

Johnathan Vaimaona, 36, gives a thumbs up as he clutches onto a water bottle after being rescued from the sewer beneath the city of Pattaya

Johnathan Vaimaona, 36, gives a thumbs up as he clutches onto a water bottle after being rescued from the sewer beneath the city of Pattaya

Rescuers haul the Hawaiian out of the storm drain

Rescuers haul the Hawaiian out of the storm drain 

Vaimaona, from Hawaii, said he fell down the manhole near the hotel he was staying at with his girlfriend

Vaimaona, from Hawaii, said he fell down the manhole near the hotel he was staying at with his girlfriend

‘I just fell down a hole, and I didn’t know where I was going. I came up on the other end. I don’t know where I was going.

‘It feels like I was in there for days. I don’t remember what was happening.’

Vaimaona said he was returning to the hotel on the afternoon of May 12 when he fell into the hole.

Unable to climb back up, he screamed for help, but no one was around to hear him.

He roamed the underground sewage system crying for assistance before finally hearing voices coming from a storm drain with light streaming in from above.

Security officer Chalee Boonsri, 26, was the first to hear Vaimaona.

‘I was on my way to a convenience store for a drink when I suddenly heard a foreigner shouting,’ he said.

‘I looked around but didn’t see anyone there. But when I looked at the pavement, I saw a man peeking at me from the drain.’

Rescuers lifted the drain grates and pulled Vaimaona out of the sewer.

The tattooed tourist was visibly shattered and appeared to be shaking as he drank from a bottle of soda. Wearing nothing but a pair of shorts, Vaimaona was covered in sludge from navigating the filthy sewer network.

Rescue workers hosed him down and gave him a drink before police questioned him.

He said he couldn’t remember the name of the hotel where he had checked in with his girlfriend, only describing it as the one ‘with the boats.’

Johnathan Vaimaona, 36, smiles as he sits on the street after being saved from the sewer network in Pattaya

Johnathan Vaimaona, 36, smiles as he sits on the street after being saved from the sewer network in Pattaya

Vaimaona is seen below the storm drain inside the filthy sewer network where he was trapped after falling into a manhole near his hotel in the coastal resort city known for its hedonistic nightlife

Vaimaona is seen below the storm drain inside the filthy sewer network where he was trapped after falling into a manhole near his hotel in the coastal resort city known for its hedonistic nightlife

Vaimaona speaks to reporters about how he fell down and was left wandering around underground for 'what felt like days'

Vaimaona speaks to reporters about how he fell down and was left wandering around underground for ‘what felt like days’

The Hawaiian looked shattered as he gulped down a water bottle

The Hawaiian looked shattered as he gulped down a water bottle

Vaimaona speaks to cops about what happened, telling them he was unable to remember much apart from his fall into the manhole

Vaimaona speaks to cops about what happened, telling them he was unable to remember much apart from his fall into the manhole

Rescuers are seen opening up the storm drain to free Vaimaona from the sewer

Rescuers are seen opening up the storm drain to free Vaimaona from the sewer

Vaimaona is hosed down by rescuers after his sewer journey left him covered in sludge

Vaimaona is hosed down by rescuers after his sewer journey left him covered in sludge

After verifying his entry documents and conducting further investigation, the police said they discovered inconsistencies in Vaimaona’s statements.

They said he was speaking in a confusing manner and claimed to be the ‘head of athletes from Cambodia.’

Cops vowed to do a more thorough investigation into Vaimaona’s fall into the sewer.

Thailand’s current military government has made efforts to clean up Pattaya after it was dubbed the ‘sex capital’ of the world and a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

However, the entrenched sex industry and endemic corruption have proved difficult to tame in the once-sleepy coastal city.

A large number of British ex-pats have also set up bars in the sun-drenched resort, which has become an attractive place for pensioners to retire.



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