British backpacker, 22, ‘feared she would die alone’ after plummeting 13 feet in Greece quad bike accident

The accident took place on the Greek island of Naxos (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The accident took place on the Greek island of Naxos (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A British backpacker told her mother she feared she would die alone in Greece after falling 13 feet into a ravine in a quad bike accident.

Courtney Leanne Boylan, from north-east Manchester, is currently in intensive care in an Athens hospital after the vehicle she was on with a friend crashed into a fence on the island of Naxos last Friday.

The 22-year-old was left with fluid on her lungs, a split liver, a torn spleen and internal bleeding after being sent flying down the roadside ravine with the quad bike landing on top of her, her family said.

A resident in Naxos is believed to have climbed down to reach her before the emergency services hoisted her to a local hospital, where her chest was drained, before being taken to Athens General Hospital, the Manchester Evening News reported.

Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades (Getty Images)
Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades (Getty Images)

Her mother Debbie – who told the outlet she “booked the first flight out” to Athens after making terrified calls to the hospital and British embassy – said Ms Boylan’s “heartbreaking” first words to her when she arrived were: “I thought I was [going to] have to die alone.”

“We’re on day six now and Courtney is getting stronger,” her mother added. “She has two chest drains for pleural effusions, she has fluid on her tummy from the damage to her liver and spleen and X-rays have just shown she has clouding on her lungs.

“We’re all distraught, I have panic attacks when I have to leave and need to gather myself to be strong. The doctors and locals have all been amazing.”

The family has launched a crowdfunding effort to fly Ms Boylan back to the UK for treatment, after being told it would cost either £5,000 for a flight sitting alone with assistance from medical teams, or more than £36,000 for a private air ambulance.

Her sister, who created the GoFundMe page – which has so far raised more than £5,500 – said while Ms Boylan does have medical insurance, “due to unforeseen circumstances they’re refusing to pay out”.

Her mother said Ms Boylan had planned to study and then travel, saying: “After university she got a job, saved hard and booked her backpacking trip to Greece. Her plan was to continue education or work in the field she studied once she got back.

“She loves history and wanted to go at it alone because she can make friends in an empty room. I dropped her off at Manchester Airport with a one way ticket on 6 June, and she headed to Rhodes and met lots of lovely people and friends.”

Ms Boylan then travelled to Kos and Mykonos before heading to Naxos, where she “met up with some lovely friends ... and they had a ball”, her mother said.

“One morning, two girls were going for a hike and Courtney and her friend didn’t want to, so they planned to sightsee on a quad. Her friend had a licence and booked a quad bike Courtney rode on the back.”

Her mother explained when the Greek roads became narrow, the friends pulled over to let a car pass.

She added: “After the car had gone, her friend went to turn the handlebars to pull out slowly and I can only presume pulled too hard on the revs, which sent them into a fence. They hit the gate and then went over the embankment.

“Courtney fell off the back and rolled down the ravine and ended with the quad on top of her. She got up and fell back over because she couldn’t breathe. They both wore helmets or they would have been dead.”