A missing Thai chef has been found alive after going on 43 day drinking binge – to kill time waiting for a connecting flight in Russia.
Uthai Waenbarb, 36, had been working in a restaurant in Budapest, Hungary, but caught a flight back to Thailand on June 15.
The plane stopped in Moscow, where Uthai was told he would have to wait five days before the onward journey to Bangkok.
Disappointed Uthai then hit the airport bars – downing alcohol for several hours before being arrested and kicked out of the airport in Moscow, with a standard 30 day visa.
The chef said he then continued drinking but has little memory of the next couple of weeks, during which he lost his passport, all his belongings and found work as a rubbish collector.
Meanwhile, his worried family in, Nong Khai northeastern Thailand, who had been waiting for him filed a missing person’s report in Hungary, Thailand and Russia.
Dishevelled Uthai was finally found on Tuesday July 30 in Khimki city, around 27Km from Moscow airport. A Good Samritan dragged him to the Thai Embassy where officials are now taking care of him.
Uthai said: “I was so upset after being told by the airline to wait for five days, I decided to drink and after that I cannot remember anything but losing my passport.
“I have no idea how I went to Khimki, I just remember I was arrested by police a couple times. I was also lent some money by a Thai woman who is married to a Russian guy and I was working as a garbage collector to try to save money for a new ticket.”
Uthai’s sister-in-law Prapudson Promcharroen, 32, said she had been searching for her relative since June 15.
The family filed a missing person report with police in Nong Khai. They also asked officials in Hungary and Russia to help find him.
Prapudson said: “My brother-in-law informed the family that he would visit a friend in Thailand for a while when he landed, but after five days of his arrival date he was not home yet.
“Initially we thought he was missing in Thailand, so we contacted his friend and found out that he never showed up.
”We were so worried because we checked and knew he had taken the flight from Hungary but not the flight in Moscow.
”He can’t speak Russian, Hungarian and only a little English. I don’t know how he survived.”
Russian police told the family that Uthai had been detained at the airport before being released when he had sobered up. He then began to drink again before losing his belongings.
Uthai told his family that he remembers very little of the next few weeks but knows he received help from a Thai woman, slept rough, carried on drinking and worked as a garbage collected.
Without a passport or phone he did not work what to do. But finally, after 43 days two local men saw his plight and took him to the Thai Embassy in Moscow.
Thanathip Uttasarim, the Thai Ambassador to Russia, said: ”We will help Uthai with accommodation and money until he can return home. We’ll also pay for his plane ticket and assist with legal paperwork for his visa overstay.
”The police did not detain him before as he had not committed an offence, he was not a danger to anyone and he did not contact anybody for help.
”We are relieved that he can finally return home.”