A 24-YEAR-OLD Newcastle man has died while on holiday in Thailand. Hugh Smith was on Koh Samui when he and a friend, Benjamin Kemp, 20, from Bar Beach, both fell from a waterfall.
Rescue workers spent about two hours transporting the men from the waterfall to the ambulance, after they fell about 60metres from the Nah Muang Song Waterfall, according to the Phuket Gazette.
The accident occurred on February 3, and an official from the Bangkok Hospital Samui confirmed Mr Smith had died in the hospital.
Mr Kemp also fell from the waterfall, but was discharged the next day, and is now back in Newcastle.
Family and friends have been paying tribute to Mr Smith on social media since the accident, describing him as an ‘‘amazing person’’ with a ‘‘witty nature’’ that could always make people laugh.
Mr Smith's family released a statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Friday.
“It was with great sadness that we were advised that our son Hugh had died in Koh Samui, Thailand as a result of a fall from a waterfall," the statement said.
"Hugh was repatriated to Australia with his parents with Australian consular assistance on Saturday 6 February and a celebration of Hugh’s life will be held in Newcastle on Friday 13 February.
"Hugh is much loved and respected by a wide circle of family and friends from Newcastle and further afield and it is therefore requested that family and friends’ privacy be respected at this time of great sorrow."
The family has requested donations in Mr Smith's honour rather than flowers, nominating Tetepare, The Last Wild Island as "a cause that Hugh would love".
The group is dedicated to conserving the Solomon Islands, a place Mr Smith "spent a happy holiday helping with the turtle rodeo tagging Leatherback turtles."
A private service for Mr Smith is being held in Newcastle on Friday.
Donations can be made to
Wendy Horder and John Smith
Account: 364 658
BSB 032 505