A New York City woman vacationing in Thailand broke her spine in a fall off a cliff’s edge as she scrambled away from a pervy tour guide — who then groped the injured tourist, authorities said.
Hannah Gavios, 23, lay helpless for several hours Thursday night as rescue crews and local rock climbers searched for her.
The guide, later identified as 28-year-old Apai Raingworchai, made sexual advances on the young tourist, causing her to panic and run from him. She was found about 150 feet below the edge of a steep trail, roughly 50 feet above a stream.
Raingworchai told police that when he found Gavios, he groped the incapacitated woman, but did not rape her.
The Bayside, Queens native bit Raingworchai on the ear to fend him off, Phuket News reported.
Rescue crews weren’t able to reach the victim until the next morning, Krabi Tourist Rescue Centre Director Nitiphat Mongkolpradit told Phuket News on Friday, the day after her fall.
Thai media reported that Gavios had undergone surgery and is recovering at Bangkok Hospital Phuket.
“She is recovering but needs to stay in hospital at least one more week,” Dr. Manp Trinarong told local media. “She can move her legs but she cannot move them very much.”
Gavios was working in Vietnam as an English teacher, and jaunted to Thailand during a few days off, a co-worker told the Daily News.
“She is an amazing teacher and human being,” said the co-worker, Darrion M. Willis, 27. “I’m just shocked. I just saw her, saying ‘have a safe trip’ before all this happened.”
Gavios did not respond to The News’ emails or phone calls, but Willis said he had spoken to her over Skype, and she told him she’s unable to walk because of her injuries.
The young woman’s parents were on their way from New York to be with her while she recovers, Willis said.
Gavios’ distressed father, Aaron Gavios, simply told The News “this is a very bad time” when reached early Wednesday.
Raingworchai re-enacted the string of events leading to Gavios’ fall for police, admitting he had made a sexual pass at the woman.
He was charged by Ao Nang police with assault causing injury and sexual assault. He was being held at the Krabi Provincial court, Phuket News reported.
“There is no question what he did was wrong and unacceptable,” Col Winai of Ao Nang Police told the newspaper. “I am sure his punishment will be severe.”
Friends of Gavios reached out with sympathy to the young woman on her Facebook page.
“Get well. We all love you and our prayers are with you,” wrote Victor Mevorah.
“I’m so sorry to hear about what happened. I hope you have a fast recovery and get well soon!” Aria Modanlo wrote.
Gavios graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology last year and worked as a freelance graphic designer in New York City before moving to Vietnam, according to her professional website.