Tourists who go trekking in Vietnamese forests should take care not to go on paths not approved by local authorities, because they could put themselves in danger, a military official has warned.
Tran Quang Chanh, Chief Commander of the Son Tra District Military Command in central Vietnam, issued the warning after a Filipino tourist got lost earlier this week while trekking in the local forest.
Just last month, a Vietnamese trekker had drowned while trekking on the Ta Nang – Phan Dung route in the Central Highlands.
Around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, some fishermen in Da Nang heard a scream for help from a ridge on the Son Tra peninsula. The boat approached the place immediately and brought the lost Filipino tourist back to land.
Phillip Rancubo, 37, had set out early morning with two of his friends to go trekking in the Son Tra Forest. They walked to the Mui Nghe Beach where they swam and rested. They started trekking back at around 2 p.m.
About a third of the way back, the two friends lost sight of Rancubo and started searching for him. After several hours, they gave up and returned. They asked Rancubo’s Vietnamese girlfriend to ask for help.
Phan Minh Hai, deputy head of an agency under the Da Nang Tourism Department that oversees Son Tra Peninsula and Da Nang beaches, said he had assigned a rescue team to go along with Rancubo’s friends and Trung Dao – a local who is familiar with Son Tra forest, because he visits it regularly to clean trash littered there.
He said that it was during the second rescue attempt that they got information that the missing person had been found and brought inland by some fishermen.
Hai further said that while there was a trail in the area, the route taken by Rancubo was not on the officially permitted trekking route.
“Tourists should not explore the forest on their own. They should travel with locals, since Son Tra has many small confusing trails”, Hai warned.
Tran Quang Chanh, Chief Commander of Son Tra District Military, said that the tourist group had not registered or informed local authorities about their trekking in the Son Tra forest.
“We warn that people should not risk their lives to explore forests and mountains without approval from local organizations”, Chanh said.