A man who was rescued after being trapped for four days in a cave in Battambang province felt so helpless that he considered ending his own life.
Sum Bora, 27, a bat guano collector, yesterday said in a video posted from his hospital bed that he had given up all hope of being rescued after his shouts for help went unanswered.
“I had lost hope of staying alive and if I had a knife with me I would have committed suicide,” he said in the video, which was broadcast on social media.
Mr Bora, from Sampov Loun district, on Sunday climbed Chakrai Mountain in Phnom Proek district to collect guano, but slipped and fell into a cave.
He was trapped there without food or water until he was located by rescuers on Tuesday night.
However, rescuers were unable to extricate him from the cave because its entrance was too narrow, and they left him some food and water to drink while figuring out how to pull him out.
Mr Bora on Wednesday evening was finally pulled out from the cave by personnel from unit 711 of Brigade 70 who were flown to the site by helicopter.
In the video, he said that he had initially been found by a friend who regularly joined him to collect guano on the mountain.
“We are both small-built and can easily fit into narrow passages, so my friend was able to crawl through another passage to reach me inside the cave,” Mr Bora noted.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany yesterday donated about $2,500 to Mr Bora and the money was handed over to his family at the provincial referral hospital.
Kun Kim, first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, yesterday said that Mr Hun Sen and Ms Rany donated the money to assist the family while Mr Bora is being treated at the hospital.
“Samdech and his wife both felt sympathy for the victim after learning that the man had been trying so hard to survive inside the cave,” Mr Kim said. “The money is to help the victim and his family.”
Koeun Sothea, 29, Mr Bora’s wife, yesterday expressed her gratitude to Mr Hun Sen and Ms Rany for their generosity and caring for her family’s welfare.
“I would like to thank Samdech Hun Sen and his wife for the donation,” she said. “I also wish to thank Samdech Hun Sen for sending out the special rescue team which managed to pull my husband out from the cave.”
Ms Sothea said that her husband had been trying to retrieve his flashlight which had fallen into the cave and he got stuck.
She said that Mr Bora suffered head, chest and knee injuries.
Ms Sothea also said that many people have visited her husband in hospital and donated money and food after they learned of his mishap.
Lieutenant Sareth Viseth, district police chief, yesterday said that the authorities have banned the public from climbing Chakrai Mountain in order to prevent a similar accident.
“It is dangerous to collect the bat faeces on the mountain,” Lt Viseth said, noting that people collect guano to fertilize their farms and that those in the low-income group collect it to sell to farmers and supplement their income.