The only survivor of a plane crash in Vietnam which killed 29 people has relived in harrowing detail how she clung to life for a week in the jungle before being rescued.

Dutch native Annette Herfkens was travelling with her fiance on board Vietnam Airlines Flight 474 on November 14, 1992, when it crashed into a mountain.

The then 31-year-old survived alone for a week before being rescued by local police.

Now 55, Herfkens has revealed how she drank rainwater from sponges to stay alive and refused to look at her fiance's corpse while waiting to be rescued.


"Everything hurt and I couldn't move," she told The New York Post, recalling the moment she awoke around four hours after the crash to find her partner dead, still in his seat, with a "sweet little smile on his lips".

"Shock must have set in because I don't remember crawling out of the plane.

"I could see four inches of bluish bone sticking out through lawyers of flesh on my shin."

Herfkens and her fiance Willem van der Pas, whom she affectionately called Pasje, were on their way to Nha Trang for a romantic holiday when the plane crashed.

The pair, who were both bankers at the time, had been together for 13 years and were due to marry. She was living in Madrid at the time and had flown to visit her partner in Ho Chi Minh City.

Before boarding the aircraft, Herfkens said she felt nervous about its safety but was comforted by her partner.

When the plane dropped suddenly mid-flight, her fears were realised.

"We dropped again. Someone screamed. It went pitch-black. Seconds later, we made impact."

Several other passengers survived the initial crash but died of their injuries. One man, she revealed, mustered the strength to fetch a pair of trousers from his suitcase to give her before he died.

Unbeknownst to her at the time, Herfkens had fractured her hips and her jaw was "hanging off".

Her only way of moving around the jungle was by crawling on her elbows. The woman, who has since married and had two children, admitted avoiding her dead fiance's corpse in the jungle to try to survive.

"Every time I thought of Pasje, I forced myself to stop. I would look at my engagement ring, but then I wouldn't allow myself to think any further. It wouldn't do any good."

On the day of her rescue, Herfkens believes she was about to die. The financier was slipping between lucidness and delusion, becoming increasingly entranced by the nature around her.

She was saved when a local policeman, dressed in an orange coat, stumbled upon her that day.

It was the second rescue attempt - a helicopter which had been sent out to find the party also crashed, killing all eight on board.

The Vietnamese policeman, Herfkens revealed, thought she was a ghost, having never seen a white person before.

He alerted colleagues and Herfkens was taken down the mountain on a stretcher, her injuries so fragile the men carrying her removed their shoes so as to tread more lightly on the ground.

She was transferred to a hospital in Singapore and treated for her injuries. In December that year, she was wheeled into her fiance's funeral in Holland on a stretcher.

Herfkens, who was one of the first women to be sent to Wall Street by a Dutch bank, returned to work two months later. She now lives and works in New York City and is divorced from her husband, Jaime.

In 2006, she returned to the crash site with her daughter, Joosje. She released her book, Turbulence: A True Story of Survival, in 2014.