Patient stranded in Sri Lanka after bike accident finally back in UK

Joe Beales, from Attleborough, has landed back in the UK after being stranded in hospital in Sri Lan

Joe Beales, from Attleborough, has landed back in the UK after being stranded in hospital in Sri Lanka following a motorbike accident. Picture: Caroline Beales - Credit: Archant

A civil engineer who was left stranded in Sri Lanka after a serious motorbike accident is finally back on British soil.

Joe Beales, from Attleborough, sustained life-changing injuries when his bike was involved in a collision with a bus near Tangalle, in the south of the country, on February 29.

The 23-year-old, who had been on a three-week holiday, suffered two broken bones in his right leg, other serious wounds and had to have his spleen removed.

Mr Beales was taken to hospital in the capital, Colombo, where he remained for five weeks as efforts to organise a flight with medical support proved futile due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Expiry of his visa and doubts over the availability of a bed at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) compounded the situation but, on Monday, Mr Beales landed at Heathrow before travelling to Norfolk.

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“Joe landed at about 1.30pm and got an ambulance straight to NNUH,” said his mother, Caroline. “They admitted him and they’re doing x-rays and scans just to see what needs doing and to decide what they are going to do.

“He’s at hospital now and I take it the tests have all been going on this morning.

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“I was getting messages from him on Monday when he stopped in Doha on the way back and he was just so much happier. He was very tired after the long journey but he’s just so happy to be back.”

Mrs Beales, 56, initially flew out to be with Mr Beales alongside his older brother, Alastair, on March 13, but the pair were told to leave a week later as COVID-19 restrictions tightened.

But news of Mr Beales’ situation travelled fast, with British ex-pats based in Sri Lanka offering their support.

“It didn’t help there being a big time difference, but two British ladies in Sri Lanka contacted him while he was there which was lovely,” added Mrs Beales.

“I’m so relieved he’s back - things are much easier now. I slept so much better knowing he’s in the same country and only up the road.

“What happens now depends on what they decide to do with his leg. They may just put him in a cast, so I’m hoping he might be home in a couple of days.”

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