BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network) - A Thai man who risked his life to rescue a Norwegian couple stuck in riverside mud will be conferred with a "Seu Samart" (honorary jacket) by Princess Bajra Kitiyabha after his heroism made headlines around the world.
Chat Ubonjinda, 44, will also get to meet Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha during his trip to Bangkok for the award ceremony on Friday.
Chat had rescued two elderly Norwegian birdwatchers who became stuck in mud in Krabi - by allowing them to use his body to pull themselves to safety.
He had spotted the pair while returning from a fishing trip near Krabi in the south of Thailand. In a video shot by an onlooker and uploaded online last Friday, Chat is seen trying to pull the couple out, but the mud was too thick. He then lies on the mud, and let the birdwatchers lift themselves up by bracing against and even crawling on his body.
Before Chat could board an Air Asia flight to Bangkok on Monday, officials from the Krabi Red Cross office had to provide him with medical treatment for his back pain, which he sustained when he let the couple step on his back to escape the mud.
To praise his good deed and sacrifice, the Krabi Provincial Electricity Authority will take care of a temporary electric meter shared by Chat's five adjoining family houses and a power bill worth almost Bt10,000 (S$392) a month, while the Muang Krabi Municipality will build a public road leading to his home so that electricity poles can be erected.
Chat welcomed the initiatives as they would help his family save money since his work laying foundation pillars has dried up.