Norfolk

Aiden Webb: Norwich backpacker died in Vietnam waterfall plunge

Aiden Webb Image copyright Bluebell Baughan
Image caption Experienced climber Aiden Webb had hoped to climb Vietnam's highest mountain in one day

A British backpacker who died climbing Vietnam's highest mountain plunged to his death after slipping down a steep waterfall, his family has said.

Aiden Webb, 22, from Norwich, set off to climb the Fansipan mountain alone on 3 June. He called his girlfriend to say he had fallen, injuring himself.

It is understood he later fell down the waterfall while trying to make it to safety. His body was found on 9 June.

Tests showed he died at about 07:00 on 4 June, after falling 18m (60ft).

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Mr Webb, an experienced climber, had started his ascent of the 3,100m (10,300ft) high mountain at about 06:00 and planned to climb it in a day.

Image copyright Bluebell Baughan
Image caption Mr Webb told his girlfriend he had been forced off the main trail by a landslide

He had gone to Vietnam with his girlfriend Bluebell Baughan, 24, of White Notley, Essex, and she was in contact with him by phone from the nearest town of Sapa.

'Died on impact'

Mr Webb told her he had fallen into a ravine having been forced off the main trail by a landslide.

He had cut his arm open on a rock, hurt his knee and lost his way, but was trying to make it back to safety.

Image copyright Bluebell Baughan
Image caption Bluebell Baughan and Mr Webb were two and a half months into a four-month trip
Image caption Mr Webb was trekking alone on Fansipan mountain when he fell down a ravine, his girlfriend said

The pair were in contact all night and last spoke shortly after 06:00 the following morning, 4 June, when Mr Webb agreed his girlfriend should raise the alarm. His phone then stopped working.

Vietnamese TV said about 150 people were involved in the search for Mr Webb.

At one point a specialist team was brought in after rescuers suggested he could have wandered into a nearby valley, where there is a large waterfall, and fallen in.

Mr Webb's body was eventually found by rangers near Sin Chai village at 12:50 local time (06:50 BST) on 9 June.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Vietnam TV reported a 150-strong party had been looking for Mr Webb on trails along streams and the cable car line
Image copyright Bluebell Baughan
Image caption Aiden Webb, pictured with girlfriend Bluebell Baughan, was an Anglia Ruskin University drama graduate

In a message posted on Facebook on Sunday by Miss Baughan in both English and Vietnamese, the family said: "Aiden's body was found on the 9th of June by a team of seven comprising of Sapa police, military police and local men.

"An investigation was made following the recovery of Aiden's body. The findings show that around 7am on the 4th of June Aiden fell down an 18-metre waterfall, he died upon impact with the water of the plunge pool at its base."

His parents thanked those involved in the search and confirmed Mr Webb's body had been returned home.

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