A British woman has seen her ‘dream holiday’ turn into a nightmare after a ‘freak accident’ left her paralyzed and stranded in a ‘terrible’ 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 engulfed by a huge wave and he lost sight of her underwater.
The wave dragged the sales agent 20 meters out to sea before she crashed into the seabed, causing severe spinal damage that left her unable to move her arms and legs.
Unable to fly back, the 24-year-old is stuck in a hospital on the island after she and her partner Callum Aston forgot to add travel insurance to the trip, which they took out at the last minute from a colleague who couldn’t go.
The couple said they now have to pay more than £10,000 for hospital bills and a further £38,000 for an air ambulance to take Charline home so she can receive ‘expert’ treatment.
Charline Edwards, from Birmingham, was enjoying a beach day in Cape Verde when the ‘freak accident’ happened
Charline, 24, and her partner Callum Aston, 28, forgot to add travel insurance to the trip, which they took out at the last minute from a colleague
From the Cape Verdean hospital where Charline was treated, 28-year-old Callum said BirminghamLive The pair were paddling in the sea when things took a terrifying turn on Thursday.
“The water was a little choppy, but nothing serious. The flags were green and indicated it was safe to swim,” the sales manager recalled.
‘We were less than waist deep in the water, Charline was on her back, relaxing and floating in the water.
‘Suddenly a very large wave landed on top of her. When I finally got up from the wave myself, she was nowhere to be seen.
‘She was about twenty meters deep in the water, where it had dragged her back out to sea, when I managed to find her.’ She suffered nerve damage to her spine and could not feel anything below her neck at the time.
He added: ‘We had a very bad experience in hospital. We are concerned that if we cannot get her home her injury could be long lasting as there is no MRI scanner on the island so we cannot see the extent of the nerve damage.”
Callum’s mother said he and Charline are ‘both very scared and need to come home as soon as possible’
Callum’s mother, Julie, has since set up a fundraising campaign to help cover Charline’s costs.
Julie said: ‘I have had several calls to the British Embassy, who refused to help, and also to the tour company they booked the trip with.
“Cape Verde is not equipped to handle the level of her treatment and if she is not treated quickly, she could become paralyzed.
‘Charline is only 24, they are both very scared and need to go home as soon as possible.’
Currently, more than £9,000 has been donated of the £45,000 they hope to raise to get Charline home.