Wed, Dec 29, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Origin of orphaned child in Thailand remains unknown

AP , BANGKOK

Dozens of parents desperate to find missing children after massive tidal waves battered southern Thailand turned up at a local hospital hoping that an unidentified 2-year-old boy was theirs, officials said yesterday. But all left disappointed.

Authorities were still unsure even of the blond-haired boy's nationality. Some said maybe he was Swedish, but his incomprehensible babble was little help in discovering his identity.

The boy, with red marks streaking his face, was found sitting on a road not far from the town of Khao Lak in Phang Nga province, shortly after surging waves swept away hundreds of tourists and trapped people inside flooded buildings. Some tourists saw the toddler sitting alone and took him to a nearby hospital, said Vilad Mumbansao, a staff member at Phuket International Hospital.

"He looked bleak when he arrived at the hospital on Sunday night with some surface wounds on his face and body," he said.

The child was lying in a hospital bed, wearing a red-and yellow-checked shirt, with his left hand hooked up to a saline drip. He was looking a little healthier after doctors gave him oxygen for a day, said Vilad.

Hospital staff have tried to determine the boy's nationality.

"He could be Swedish because he was enthusiastic when a man spoke Swedish to him," said Vilad.

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