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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Welsh Father Faces Life-changing Reality After Thailand Holiday Accident

    A SEEMINGLY idyllic family holiday to Thailand turned into a life-altering nightmare for Lee, a 54-year-old father from Church Village, Rhondda Cynon Taf. Known for his dedication as a community occupational therapist, Lee’s career focused on enabling disabled individuals to live independently. Ironically, he now faces a similar challenge, after a devastating motorcycle accident left him paralysed from the waist down.


    Lee’s trip, intended as a joyful reunion with his daughter Katie, whom he and his wife Clare Francis hadn’t seen in five months, ended in tragedy on January 19th, 2024. The accident occurred on their trip’s final day, shattering the family’s happiness and altering Lee’s life course irreversibly.

    The aftermath of the crash was dire. Lee sustained multiple severe injuries, including broken ribs, a fractured spine in three places, and significant lung contusions. His condition deteriorated rapidly, leading to a critical care stint in Krabi Hospital in southern Thailand, where he battled pneumothorax, haemothorax, and a pulmonary embolism. These complications severely hampered his treatment and recovery, necessitating a week on a ventilator, unable to eat or speak.

    Despite undergoing successful decompression surgery, the prognosis was grim: Lee would never walk again. This news was particularly devastating for someone whose life was intertwined with physical activity and sports. Lee, a former basketball player and coach for the under-18s Welsh girls’ team, cherished his walks up Pen y Fan as a form of personal therapy. Now, he must confront a future devoid of these passions.

    The journey back to Wales was nothing short of harrowing. Lee endured an 18-hour stretcher flight, a testament to his resilience and the unwavering support of his family. His daughter Abigail, alongside her step-siblings Dylan and Menna, navigated the complexities of insurance coverage, ensuring Lee’s medical and repatriation costs were met.

    Upon his return, Lee was admitted to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where he continues to recover. The transition back to Welsh soil, although relieving, was marked by pain and the stark reality of his condition. Speaking from his hospital bed, Lee expressed a mix of gratitude for being home and anxiety about the future.

    Despite the physical and emotional toll, Lee’s indomitable spirit shines through. He’s already contemplating ways to stay involved in basketball, possibly through coaching wheelchair basketball, showcasing his determination to adapt and find new ways to contribute to the sport he loves.

    The accident also served as a harsh lesson in safety and preparedness. Lee credits his survival to wearing a helmet and wisely choosing comprehensive travel insurance.


    He now advocates for these precautions to other travellers, hoping to prevent similar tragedies.


    Clare, Lee’s wife, experienced a ‘lucky’ escape with less severe injuries but is now dealing with the emotional and physical aftermath of the accident.


    The couple’s ordeal highlights the suddenness with which life can change and the importance of support and love in facing such challenges.


    Facing significant adjustments to his home to accommodate his new reality, Lee is confronted with the harsh realities of funding and accessibility. Despite his professional expertise in helping others navigate these challenges, he finds himself in a cruel twist of fate, struggling to secure the necessary modifications for his own home. A GoFundMe page has been established by his family to bridge this gap, illustrating the community’s support and the shared human experience of overcoming adversity.

    Welsh Father Faces Life-changing Reality After Thailand Holiday Accident - The Pattaya News

  2. #2
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    Salsa dancer's Avatar
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    After all the news articles about motorbike accidents her in Oz and Asia, I would never get on a motorbike again. Ever.

  3. #3
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    Troy's Avatar
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    ^ I stopped riding them outside the village/farm area years ago. It's hard enough driving Thai roads in a 4x4, way too dangerous on a motorbike.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    I’m off of motorbikes for the duration myself. Old, daft, and too easily hurt these days.

  5. #5
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    You can add overnight buses, the often overloaded inter city minibuses that zip around the provinces, ferries to the islands and cars driven by inebriated in laws to your list.

  6. #6
    CCBW Stumpy's Avatar
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    ^ You should all just stay home and never leave your house in fear of the unknown. JFC.....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by taxexile View Post
    You can add overnight buses
    If one lucks out with an AC bus with three across seating, overnight bus trips are great.

    Okay, there was that one overnight bus trip from Chiang Mai to Bangkok where the bus I was on was shot at leaving a gaping hole in the body work. That wasn't great.
    pues, estamos aqui

  8. #8
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    It is fear of the very well known, not fear of the unknown.

    You should all just stay home
    But only if your electrical system is properly earthed.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by happynz View Post
    You can add overnight buses
    If one lucks out with an AC bus with three across seating, overnight bus trips are great.
    I forgot to mention a real bonus if the TV and stereo speakers are out of commission.

  10. #10
    CCBW Stumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by taxexile View Post
    It is fear of the very well known, not fear of the unknown.


    But only if your electrical system is properly earthed.
    Come on Tax. You sound like some fearful old man who is now afraid to go out and do anything because Godforbid you just might die in accident. It's all silly and a reaction to shit news about a poor fella who met an unfortunate incident. It's life. Shit happens every damn day in every country?

    I have driven all over this country from far north all the way to the Malaysian border and never once had any incident. I ride a Honda wave almost every day. I have taken overnight bus's all over. Van rides daily from Ayutthaya area to my Condo in BKK daily for years. I have been in cabs, tuk tuks, Songtaews and been in crazy long boats at high speeds etc.

    My advice. Stay home, look out the window and live in fear. Ya just never know when something may.....or may not happen.
    Last edited by Stumpy; 12-02-2024 at 04:50 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy View Post
    Shit happens every damn day in every country
    True, but more shit happens in Thailand, and there are more shithead drivers, as we all know from seeing so many news articles about horrendous and stupid 'brake failures'. It's a numbers game.

  12. #12
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    It's all about weighing up the risk.

    I've told my daughter that no way she gets on a motorbike in Thailand, and told the wife the day she facilitates the daughter to travel on a motorbike while I'm away is the day I leave, taking my daughter with me. Sure, on a village track the risks are small but in an expanding city like Korat, with communities regularly being bisected by major bypass roads, the accidents are horrific as kids drive village style while attempting to cross a four lane highway. Maybe it's a small risk, but if the daughter was involved in one of these horrendous accidents, that happen regularly around here, I would certainly never forgive myself. And there are an awful lot half-crippled adults and kids staggering around as a result of these accidents.

    I've also told the daughter that of she remains in Thailand into adulthood (which I sincerely hope she doesn't) I'll buy her a car when the time comes, so long as she promises never to use motorbikes. A small prang in a car could easily be an accident resulting in death or life-changing injuries if a bike.

    I will travel on buses between Korat and Bangkok no problem, but never in a front or back seat. Rear-ending is rare but it does happen. I'll never get in one of those mental inter-city minibuses however as I see the way they drive and just no way.

    I have always worked offshore, which I don't consider at all dangerous these days, but hazardous maybe. However I've told my agent that I will not work on jobs requiring helicopter crew changes. It's very rare but they do go down and that would be the end of my daughter's future. Also, I just hate the bloody things.

  13. #13
    I Amn't In Jail PlanK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happynz View Post
    Okay, there was that one overnight bus trip from Chiang Mai to Bangkok where the bus I was on was shot at leaving a gaping hole in the body work. That wasn't great.

    Sounds like a story there, Happy.

    What was it?
    Triads out to get ya?
    Jealous lover?

    If you're so James Bond you can't talk about it. I'll understand. We're all secret agents here after all.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat DrWilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlanK View Post

    If you're so James Bond you can't talk about it. I'll understand. We're all secret agents here after all.


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlanK View Post
    Sounds like a story there, Happy.

    What was it?
    Triads out to get ya?
    Jealous lover?
    After the round slammed into the side of the bus, of course the bus driver stopped to find out what was happening. There was a bit of muttering, and then the driver took us down the road a bit and then pulled up to a very rural police post. As it was the middle of the night the copper had to be rousted from his sleep. There was a bit of a discussion between the driver and cop which boiled down to the cop saying, "It's the middle of the night. What the fuck do you want me to do?" The driver pretty much decided his only choice was to go back to driving the bus and report the incident to his boss in Mochit.

    I wish there was something to embellish the story, but that's about all that happened.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I'll never get in one of those mental inter-city minibuses however as I see the way they drive and just no way.
    I was sat in the back of a minibus that left Hat Yai at about 8.00 PM and arrived at about 6.00 AM in the western suburbs of Bangkok. It wasn't bad although the young fella with his pretty companion were not too pleased with the farang sat next to them. I think I inhibited by my presence their planned slap and tickle in the back seats.

  17. #17
    Excommunicated baldrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    but never in a front or back seat. Rear-ending is rare but it does happen
    isn't it dark in the boot ? or do you lay down in the back of a station wagon ?

  18. #18
    CCBW Stumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    It's all about weighing up the risk.

    I've told my daughter that no way she gets on a motorbike in Thailand
    I completely respect the decision on the motorbike. They aren't for everyone. I taught my niece to ride one here and she got her license. Around here a scooter is an important means to get around. We don't have cabs or tuks tuks but Songtaews but they are on a schedule and not all day. I also taught her to drive my truck and she got her license. But to your point Mendy area plays a role in the decision. Having been in Korat and ridden my Yamaha and Wave around the main strip, unless you ride with confidence and defensively you ae likely to have a mishap.

    Many foreigners I have met prior to coming to Thailand, had never ridden a motorcycle and then they hop on one here and take a dive. It's not surprising how many die. The Thai people that die in scooter accidents are what I call thinning the herd. Most I have seen were just sheer stupidity.

    As for the rest of transportation options in Thailand, I have and would ride in any of them with little concern. I agree the big bus's never sit in the front unless you want to kick the driver as he is nodding off. . I have stopped riding in Tuk Tuks in BKK as I won't likely die in a wreck, but will probably die of lung cancer from the exhaust.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat armstrong's Avatar
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    The only time anyone rides a tuk tuk in BKK is if you're a tourist or on a bender with the lads. They're too big to get you anywhere quicker but you can fit 7 grown men in it.

  20. #20
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    ^I have ridden in tuktuks in BKK and elsewhere but then I was a tourist, so I had an excuse.

    Re: the OP, it's good the Welsh guy had travel insurance. I hope he adjusts well to his new life on wheelchair.

  21. #21
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    Tuktuks are often used by local Thai for intra urban travel between supermarkets and homes outside of the central Bangkok districts e.g. queues of them outside Saphan Kwai Big C with punters heading back to Aree etc.

  22. #22
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    I've used tuktuks to cross the road, marginally safer than trying to walk across...

  23. #23
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    ^^And by market traders transporting goods, esp veg.

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