This week, a small party of sightseers in the Tay Tra district of Quang Ngai province in central Vietnam, were travelling through a remote forest when they unexpectedly discovered 42-year-old Ho Van Lang and his 82-year-old father, Ho Van Thanh, wearing loincloths made of bark with homemade wooden axes in hand, trekking through the woods searching for firewood. Looking like real-life versions of Tarzan, the group were concerned for the two men’s’ safety. Authorities were contacted and a team put together to track and find the wild men. After the two men were found and brought back to a nearby village, authorities were stunned to find that the pair had been living in the wild, with no contact with the outside world, for over 40 years. The father and son had fled their village in 1973 – during the Vietnam War.
The two men had been living in a treehouse suspended 50 feet in the air. They had built their own wooden tools and weapons, including knives and a stash of arrows for hunting, and had been surviving on corn that they had grown, supplemented with wild fruits and roots foraged from jungle plants. Inside the treehouse they found the father’s soldier’s trousers neatly folded in a corner. Beside them was a little red coat that the son had been wearing when they fled Vietnam when he was just 2 years old.
The last time anybody saw Ho Van Thanh, he was running into the forest with his then-infant son Ho Van Lang in 1973, after a bomb exploded in his home killing his wife and two other children. The pair were said to be barely able to communicate with outsiders after having fallen out of the habit of speech.
Attempts are being made to slowly reintegrate the two men into society.