A group of Israeli tourists was rescued in Luang Prabang on Thursday after fleeing a fire while camping near Pha Ngoy mountain.
According to the Luang Prabang Red Cross, 24-year-old Jonathan Arbel and 23-year-old Dor Sherf had been camping in a forested area when they noticed a fire coming toward them and decided to flee.
“As they ran from the fire, they encountered a two-meter drop and fell,” Mr. Sousakone Soupinthone, a red cross rescue volunteer told Laotian Times.
Jonathan suffered injuries on his head and legs, while Dor Sherf injured his hands.
The two were accompanied by a woman who has not yet been identified.
Intense burning for agricultural purposes is taking place throughout many upland areas of #Laos now.
This photo is of #ChomphetDistrict, across the #Mekong from #LuangPrabang. pic.twitter.com/hSdAE0Yuyb
— The Laotian Times (@LaotianTimes) February 13, 2023
Early reports suggest the group witnessed an agricultural fire and mistook the blaze for a wildfire, causing them to panic and run.
Local people spotted the group and contacted the Luang Prabang Red Cross Rescue service, who dispatched a helicopter to evacuate the group, transporting them to hospital in Vientiane Capital on Friday.
Seasonal agricultural burning is common during the dry season in Laos as farmers practice slash-and-burn agriculture, which involves setting fire to large areas of land.
Luang Prabang, Xayaboury, Vientiane, Savannakhet, and Oudomxay provinces were identified as crop fire hotspots according to a new study from FAO.