One of the Thai workers reportedly captured by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Oct 7 has been confirmed dead, according to the Royal Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The victim was Pongsathorn Khunsri, 25, who is among the 21 Thais who have been killed due to the Hamas attacks.
An embassy official called his mother, Surangkhana, who lives in Moo 5 village in tambon Nong Yang in Chalerm Phrakiat district of Nakhon Ratchasima, at around 9pm on Wednesday.
“I was shocked and speechless when I heard the news,” she said with tears during an interview on Friday. “I had prayed for his safety when I knew he was captured. I wished for a miracle. I wished him to return home safely. Sadly, there is no miracle.”
Her son, nicknamed “Green”, worked on an Israeli farm for a year. He wanted to earn more money to build a new house for his mother. Pongsathorn also regularly sent part of his earnings to his mum because he wanted her to have a better life.
“I never imagined my son would die like this in a faraway land. Many Thais have worked there, but why did it happen to be my son who was captured and killed?” Ms Surangkhana said.
She said she did not have many details on what happened to her son, and the Thai embassy promised to provide more information later. She also urged the embassy to help return her son’s remains to Thailand for a funeral rite.
When neighbours knew about her loss, they consoled her every day.
Boonlue Dankratok, head of Ban Nong Yang village, said that 37 people from Ban Nong Yan village have worked in Israel. Their families confirmed that 36 of them were safe.
Papinya Thongsomjit from Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Labour Office said initial compensation has already been provided to Pongsathorn’s family.
A Mental Health Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (MCATT) in Nakhon Ratchasima has also aided Ms Surangkhana and other family members to help them cope with the loss.
Provincial governor Sayam Sirimongkol said 2,163 people from Nakhon Ratchasima have worked in Israel.
The provincial governor has instructed Ms Papinya to find out how many workers from the province were still in Israel and wished to return home so as to offer them any assistance they may need.