A man who at first glance looks like the missing young teacher who went to Vietnam has been confirmed as a false alarm.
A recent Facebook post that led some to conclude that the 20-year-old South African man who travelled to Vietnam to teach and then went missing was involved in a serious accident is in fact not him.
An official Facebook page about his disappearance has explained that the man in the photographs indeed had an accident, but he was not Bothma. The page said they did not know who he actually was yet.
His girlfriend Judy Kurash, who is running the account, said on Saturday: “Everyone, I appreciate your concern, but the photo of the man on the motorcycle accident/landslide is not John. It was verified with the authorities before it went viral. Please do not not argue with me about this point.
“It is very painful to see this photo over and over again. When I first saw it I thought it was John and broke down. Let’s pray for this man and his loved ones and continue the search for John.”
Kurash set up a Facebook page called Find John Bothma, where all information on his disappearance and possible leads are available.
According to Facebook posts made by his aunt, Santjie Dixon, his phone has been off since May 18. She added that police and the embassy had been contacted and alerted to his disappearance.
His work visa, which was sponsored by the Institute for Training and Economic development (ITED), expired last Sunday.
Since his radio silence, friends, Kurash, fellow teachers, and family have been posting on social media platforms to try to find him, or at least figure out if he is safe.
Kurash confirmed on Sunday that he had not boarded his return flight.
She said they were “heartbroken to report that John is still missing. He had a prepaid flight to South Africa on June 1. He was not on that flight.”
Authorities have assured Bothma’s family and friends that his disappearance has been prioritised. The US consulate in Hanoi also assisted Kurash in providing her with support and procedural explanations.