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Heroic tourist couple rescues family from Thai moat

August 22, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A young couple on holiday in Thailand have been hailed as heroes and thanked by tourism authorities after diving into a moat in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai and bravely rescuing a family trapped inside a car.

Chiang Mai’s Old City area, founded in the 13th century, has a deep moat. A Thai family out for a drive suffered a dreadful accident, which may have been caused by the driver inadvertently hitting the accelerator instead of the brake, Bangkok’s The Nation newspaper reported. Whatever the cause, it sent their car plunging into the moat.

The family – husband, wife and their son – were trapped inside the car, with only the roof showing. As luck would have it, two foreign tourists, a man and woman, saw the split-second accident and dived straight into the moat to help. So began a desperate race against time to save the trio from the vehicle.

Mrs Pinnat Charoenphol (right), Director of the TAT Chiang Mai Office, met with Ms Kaleth and Mr Leifeld to personally convey the TAT’s heartfelt gratitude.


The tourists saved the family. Facebook user Tungmayy May posted photos of the incident, which took place on Saturday evening, and hailed the foreign couple as heroes. But nobody knew who they were.

Yesterday, their identity was revealed. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) extended its thanks and appreciation to German tourist couple, Stella Maria Kaleth and Jan-Philippe Leifeld, for rescuing the Thai family.

The car in the moat. Photo by Tungmayy May: Facebook


Director of TAT’s Chiang Mai Office, Mrs Pinnat Charoenphol, met with the German couple to personally convey the TAT’s heartfelt gratitude.

“I am very pleased to learn that both Ms Kaleth and Mr Leifeld have so far enjoyed their holiday in Thailand,” Charoenphol said.

“Their actions in Chiang Mai will surely be a moment to remember for all of us. After completing their travel plans in Chiang Mai, Ms Kaleth and Mr Leifeld will continue their journey to Phuket, Krabi and Bangkok, before returning to Germany.”

The TAT Chiang Mai Office also expressed its appreciation by arranging accommodation at the RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort, Chiang Mai, and a dinner at Kao Pla Arharn, a local Thai restaurant for the German couple.

TAT Governor  Yuthasak Supasorn has extended gratitude to the German couple on behalf of the TAT and all Thais via an open letter to the Ambassador of Germany to Thailand.

Written by Peter Needham

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