KRABI: A German tourist, said to be suffering from depression, jumped to his death from a cliff while being accompanied by park rangers on a nature trail over the Khao Ngon Nak mountain crest in the Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park in this southern coastal province on Saturday afternoon. His body was found at a spot below the cliff at 1am on Sunday.
Police later identified him as “Loo Kevin Andre”, although it was unclear whether that was the name in his passport.
Teekhawuth Sriburin, chief of the national park, said the tourist leapt abruptly, leaving staff in a state of shock.
Mr Teekhawuth said on Saturday afternoon he received a telephone call from a German man who told him that his son, a tourist called Loo, had been in the Khao Ngon Nak mountain area. The caller said he was afraid Loo, who was suffering from depressive disorder, would take his own life and asked park officials to look for him.
Staff at the Thap Khaek forest protection unit checked the log book and found that Loo started hiking at 11.12am. They asked the caller to send them a photo of Loo for use in a search.
Park rangers spotted Loo at about 5.30pm. They asked the tourist to come down to their office with them, and he agreed.
At about 6.30pm, after a 2km descent from the spot where he was found by rangers, Loo received a telephone call. When he ended the call, Loo turned to the rangers, said he was sorry, ran towards the edge of a cliff and jumped off. Park rangers said he moved so suddenly they were unable to stop him, leaving them in a state of shock.
The rangers returned to their office and went to Ao Nang police station to file a complaint. They contacted rescue units in the area to launch a search for the tourist.
The search, involving two teams of park rangers and rescue workers, started combing the area about 50 metres under the cliff soon after the incident took place. The two teams took off at about the same time from Ban Din Daeng Noi, the Moo 2 village in tambon Nong Thale.
One of the two teams found Loo’s body at about 1.00am on Sunday at a spot below the cliff. The body was moved out of the area, arriving at Ao Nang police station at 6.00am. It was later sent to Krabi Hospital for an autopsy.
Police said the German embassy would be informed, pending the result of the autopsy.
The 3.7km nature trail on the Khao Ngon Nak mountain, about 500 metres above sea level, is popular among adventure-loving tourists.