A British woman has seen her ‘dream holiday’ turn into a nightmare after a ‘freak accident’ left her paralysed and stranded in an ‘abysmal’ hospital with £48,000 in medical bills.
Charline Edwards, from Birmingham, was enjoying a beach day in Cape Verde with her boyfriend when she was floored by a massive wave and he lost sight of her under the water.
The wave dragged the sales agent 20 yards out to sea before smashing her into the seabed, causing severe spinal nerve damage which has left her unable to move her arms and legs.
Unable to fly back, the 24-year-old is trapped in a hospital on the island after she and her partner Callum Aston forgot to add travel insurance to the trip, which they had taken from a colleague at the last minute who had been unable to go.
The couple said they will now need to fork out more than £10,000 for hospital bills and a further £38,000 for an air ambulance to bring Charline home so she can receive ‘expert’ treatment.
Charline Edwards, from Birmingham, was enjoying a beach day in Cape Verde when the ‘freak accident’ occurred
Charline, 24, and her partner Callum Aston, 28, forgot to add travel insurance to the trip, which they had taken from a colleague last minute
Speaking from the Cape Verde hospital 3,000 miles away, where Charline is being treated, 28-year-old Callum told BirminghamLive the pair had been paddling in the sea when things took a terrifying turn on Thursday.
‘The water was a little choppy but nothing too serious. The flags were green, telling us it was safe to swim,’ the sales manager recalled.
‘We were less than waist-deep in the water, Charline was lying on her back floating in the water relaxing.
‘Suddenly a very big wave landed on top of her. When I eventually stood up myself from the wave, she was nowhere to be seen.
‘She was about 20 yards down into the water, where it had dragged her back out to sea, when I managed to find her.’ She suffered a nerve injury to her spine and could not feel anything below her neck at the time.
He added: ‘We’ve had a really bad experience in the hospital. We’re worried that, if we can’t get her home, her injury could become long-term because there’s no MRI scanner on the island so we can’t see how extensive the nerve damage is.’
Callum’s mum said he and Charline are ‘both are very frightened and need to come home as soon as they can’
Callum’s mum, Julie, has since set up a fundraiser to help to cover Charline’s costs.
Julie said: ‘I have been on several calls to the British Embassy who refuse to help and also the travel company who they booked it from.
‘Cape Verde is not equipped to deal with her level of treatment and she could end up paralysed if not treated soon.
‘Charline is only 24, they both are very frightened and need to come home as soon as they can.’
Currently, over £9,000 has been donated out of the £45,000 they are hoping to raise to help get Charline home.
Cape Verde, located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, is part of an archipelago of volcanic islands and a popular tourist hotspot for British travelers thanks to its white sandy beaches and warm climate.
The couple had been on what was a ‘dream holiday’ to the island of Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa (stock image)
British holidaymakers have been hit with medical bills amounting to tens of thousands of pounds in recent years, either because they forgot to get travel insurance or were caught out by the small print in their policies.
The great-grandmother, 74, thought she had holiday insurance through her bank but the policy only covered her for European trips.
Mrs Kettle, who had been recovering from a heart procedure, was suffering from breathing difficulties after the Marella Discovery II left port and the on-board doctor said she needed urgent hospital treatment.
The widow, who was travelling with a friend and her friend’s son, had to be airlifted alone to hospital in Cozumel, a holiday island near Cancun, with her family told the medical bills would run to 72,626 dollars (£51,150) even before doctors’ fees.