A young female backpacker has broken her back after plunging 150 feet down a cliff while trying to flee an alleged sex attacker in Thailand.
Hannah Gavios, 23, says she was brutally assaulted by the local man after he offered to help her back to her hotel in Krabi last Thursday night.
The stranger allegedly led her up a pitch-black mountain, before pinning her on the ground and trying to rip off her clothes.
In terror, Hannah bit off part of his ear before getting to her feet and fleeing. However, in the darkness, she ran blindly off the edge of the cliff.
The lone backpacker, who has bravely waived her anonymity, fractured her spine and smashed her head as she tumbled down the steep mountain.
She finally landed crippled in woodland below, where she lay terrified, unable to feel her legs and believing she would die, for the entire night.
Horrifically, her attacker – named as Apai Ruengvorn, 28 – allegedly scrambled after her and sexually molested her as she lay helpless on the ground.
Hannah, from New York, US, was eventually found by rescuers the next morning and rushed to hospital, with a spinal cord fracture and other injuries.
She is still undergoing treatment at Bangkok Hospital in Phuket, while her distraught parents have flown from their home to be at her bedside.
Hannah, who was taking a break from teaching in Vietnam at the time of the sickening assault, said: ”I really thought I was going to die.
”He didn’t rape me but he did everything else.”
The young woman was attacked after she got lost on Railay Beach and went into a local tourist shop asking for help back to her hotel.
Ruengvorn offered to show her the way, but instead led her into the jungle where they started climbing a mountain, it is claimed.
Hannah, who was still tired after arriving in Thailand just the day before, says she innocently followed him before realising she was in danger.
She said: “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.
”I followed him up this trail and I was asking him ‘is this the right way?’. We were going up this steep mountain and using a flash light and I started panicking.
”While he were walking he grabbed me and was holding me down and trying to take off my clothes.
”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.
”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.
“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.
”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.”
Hannah said she started screaming as she lay at the bottom of the cliff.
Shockingly, Ruengvorn then heard her cries and made his way down the mountain to sexually assault her as she lay motionless, she said.
After a couple of hours, the attacker allegedly left the scene, before returning later with other people who raised the alarm.
Hannah said: ”He heard me screaming and moaning and he came down and climbed down the mountain and starting crying and praying.
“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 off his pants.
”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’.
”Eventually he left in the early hours of the morning and then I started screaming and then heard a voice. It was him with his co-workers and an ambulance came.”
She added: ”My parents flew here from New York and now I’m much better.
”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.”
Ruengvorn has admitted the shocking attack, police say.
He has been charged with committing obscene behavior toward another person and causing serious injury.
Pictures in local media show the suspect staging a crime re-enactment at the scene of the assault, pointing to the spot where Hannah fell.
Lt Songpol Bunchai confirmed Hannah’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.”