‘We just want her home’ says family of British backpacker crushed by quad bike in Greece

Courtney Leanne Boylan fell 13 feet into a ravine during a quad bike accident in Greece (GoFundMe)
Courtney Leanne Boylan fell 13 feet into a ravine during a quad bike accident in Greece (GoFundMe)

The sister of a British backpacker has begged for her to be flown home after she fell 13 feet into a ravine during a quad bike accident in Greece.

Courtney Leanne Boylan, from north-east Manchester, told her mother she feared she would die alone after the vehicle she was on with a friend crashed into a fence on the island of Naxos last Friday and the quad bike landed on top of her.

The 22-year-old was left with fluid on her lungs, a split liver, a torn spleen and internal bleeding, and is currently in intensive care in an Athens hospital.

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.

Her sister told The Independent: “We need to get her home. She’s still in critical condition at the moment. Doctors are still watching out for her breathing at the moment because she’s finding it hard to breathe on her own.

“Surgery is looking like it may need to happen within her lungs but doctors said if they do operate it will leave her with life-long problems. The tubes in her ribs are still draining the fluid on her lungs too.”

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 Manchester Evening News 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 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 £8,500 – 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.”