The family of Whitby man Eddie Hall, who was missing in Vietnam for a month, have spoken of their relief and joy that he has been found alive and is coming home.
Eddie’s mum, Heather McDermott, of Dundas Gardens, had received messages through Facebook to say he was okay but she thought it was a hoax until she got a phone call from a family member in Vietnam in the early hours of Saturday.
Since then they have been piecing together parts of Eddie’s ordeal as he has suffered memory loss and is under the care of doctors.
The chef, aged 41, who has been living in the Ho Chi Minh area of the country, remembers going looking for work and having a drink in a bar. The next thing he recalls is being on a grass verge, his phone wallet and the necklace he was wearing had been stolen.
Heather said he had been wandering around drinking water from toilets and sleeping on rat-infested beaches. He was eventually taken in by a family who fed and cared for him, brought him clothes and gave him a bed until he came around and could make contact with his family.
She told the Gazette: “He is under doctor care with having a breakdown with not remembering things. He can’t remember speaking to anyone for weeks and as soon as he is given the all-clear he is going to be on a flight home.
“On Thursday I had cried all day because I thought I would never see him again, I got this message on Facebook and thought it was a hoax. I could not believe it when I spoke to him, he was sobbing and saying sorry and I just said ‘don’t be sorry’.
“After that I went into a state of shock and I have been exhausted ever since. I can’t wait to see him and just waiting for that call to say he has the all-clear and we will get a flight sorted.
“The town has been tremendous and as a family we can’t thank them enough.”
Just last week a fundraiser was held at the First In Last Out pub which raised £6,000. The intention was that the money would pay for flights for Heather and Eddie’s sister Kerry so they could join the search for him.
Instead it has been used for medical bills, his flight home and to replace his phone and buy new clothes. Any surplus funds will be donated to the Lucie Blackman Trust which supports missing abroad, murder abroad, manslaughter abroad, suicide abroad, serious crime or death abroad.