Man, 23, stranded in Sri Lanka after serious crash could soon return home

Joseph Beales, from Attleborough, is stranded in hospital in Sri Lanka following a motorbike acciden

Joseph Beales, from Attleborough, is stranded in hospital in Sri Lanka following a motorbike accident. Picture: Caroline Beales - Credit: Archant

A civil engineer stranded in Sri Lanka following a serious motorbike accident has received positive news in his bid to return home.

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, serious wounds and had to have his spleen removed.

Mr Beales remains in hospital in the capital, Colombo, and organising his prospective journey back to the UK has proved complex due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Having overstayed his 30-day limit in Sri Lanka, the insurance company dealing with his repatriation has been attempting to extend his visa and organise a long-awaited flight.

Question marks have also lingered over the availability of a bed at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), but in recent days Mr Beales and his family have been given a welcome boost.

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Mr Beales’ mother, Caroline, said: “Thankfully the visa issue has been sorted and now the NNUH has said that, when Joe does get back to England, he can go there to be assessed to see whether he needs to be admitted.

“The awkward sticking point is getting a medical escort to travel with him. There was talk that maybe Joe doesn’t need medical support, but knowing him he probably just wants to get home.

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“This has got to be done properly for him to get home safely.”

Over the coming days Mr Beales’ insurance company is set to finalise details for his flight home, likely to be a commercial flight rather than a medevac air ambulance.

Once finally back on British soil, he will immediately travel to hospital for assessment.

“Everything has been made so much worse by the global situation we have at the moment,” added Mrs Beales. “The other day we were unsure of whether the NNUH was going to be able to take him.

“He’ll go to the emergency assessment unit to start with, and we’ll take it from there. If he’s considered well enough, he might be okay to go home and a nurse will visit him.

“It’s a tough time but we’re doing okay and keeping our fingers crossed.”

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