Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NZ woman finds husband's body in Laos river

Tuesday Sep 22, 2009

A Waikato woman has found her Irish husband's body in a Laos river three days after he went missing in a tragic end to their Asian honeymoon.

Michael O'Sullivan, 39, a publican, got into difficulty after a river "tubing" ride with his wife Ilana James 29, and 18 other holidaymakers.

Mr'O'Sullivan and Ms James, from Raglan, had been enjoying a belated honeymoon backpacking around Asia after marrying last November, the Evening Herald in Dublin reported.

They had planned to renew their vows in the presence of Mrs O'Sullivan's mother in New Zealand.

Last Thursday, the pair went on the "tubing adventure" on the Nam Xong river in Vang Vieng, in the north of Laos, described by backpackers' guide Lonely Planet as "one of the rites of passage of the Indochina backpacking circuit".

But the river had swollen dangerously because of the rainy season, and locals had to use ropes and sticks to rescue them.

Mr O'Sullivan was the only one not to be rescued. He was not wearing a lifejacket.

Ms James insisted on being part of the search team that combed the river.

For three days she hired boats and scoured the river banks looking for her husband and she was among a search party that found his body yesterday.

Ms James suffered a further blow when she was mugged on the way back to her hotel during the search.

The couple met in England. They were married last year and moved to Ireland.

They had already visited India, Malaysia and Thailand after heading off backpacking in June


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