Dutch man missing after kayaking in Laos jungle

Mattijn Lahuis
Mattijn LahuisPhoto: Jan Lahuis

Dutch man Mattijn Lahuis is missing in the jungle of Laos after a kayaking accident on Monday. His family is trying to raise funds to hire a helicopter to help search for the 30-year-old man.

Mattijn and two friends were kayaking with a professional guide on Monday, his family writes on Facebook. When they went around a turn in the river, the current suddenly sped up and two of the four kayaks hit a fallen tree and capsized. Mattijn's two friends and their guide were able to get to shore, but nothing has been seen of Mattijn since. 

They immediately started searching for Mattijn, and continued doing so in the days since with the help of local volunteers and kayakers, but to no avail. "The jungle is very dense and the current was too rapid for divers. We can't and we won't put other people into danger while searching for Mattijn."

The family therefore wants to hire a helicopter to help in the search. They launched a gofundme page to raise the 70 thousand euros needed for this.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in close contact with Mattijn's family, a spokesperson said to NOS. And the embassy in Bangkok, Thailand - the Netherlands doesn't have an embassy in Laos - is in contact with his friends in Laos. "The embassy is closely monitoring the search by local authorities", the spokesperson said. "The Dutch government can not set up a search itself."