When his baby was kidnapped during his family's tragic escape from Vietnam, Rochester, N.Y., resident Hao Truong never stopped hoping for a miracle. On Monday morning, Truong's long-held dream was realized: After 34 years of seperation, the two men were reunited at the Greater Rochester International Airport.
Pirates snatched Truong's son, Samart Khumkhaw, now 34, when they attacked and boarded the family's boat during a nightmarish escape from Vietnam in December 1977, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. They held Truong, his wife and his baby during a four-day ordeal, he told the paper in an exclusive interview. Truong was thrown overboard. The vicious kidnappers kept his wife, child and boat, and it wasn't until 16 hours later that he was saved by a fishing boat.
After spending a year in a refugee camp just off the coast of Thailand, Truong learned that his wife was dead. Ultimately, Truong made his way to America, never giving up faith that his son was alive.
Truong was among thousands of refugees fleeing Vietnam in the years following the fall of Saigon. In the spring of 1975, 130,000 refugees escaped Vietnam according to the Canadian Broadcasting Channel. Overcrowded boats of fleeing Vietnamese refugees became known as boat people, according to a CBC documentary.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer helped expedite Khumkhaw's trip, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. Fox News reports the young survivor plans to spend time with his father's family and also visit his 86-year-old grandfather in Texas during his four-month stay.
We don't want to keep him too long away from his family, Truong told Fox News. He knows my wish is to bring him to the USA [someday].