British tourist in Thailand balcony fall flies back to UK with skull in luggage
A British tourist who lost part of his skull in a balcony fall while on holiday in Thailand has flown back to Britain - with the missing piece in his hand luggage. Scroll down to see a video.
Lee Charie, 32, who has worked as an extra on TV show TOWIE, lost a chunk of the left part of his skull when he fell 22ft from a hotel balcony at the Tommy Resort on the island of Koh Tao last December.
Hotel staff found him unconscious on the floor, and he was rushed to a local clinic before being moved to a hospital on Koh Samui.
He spent two days in a critical state before having a quarter of his skull removed to ease pressure on his brain.
Now, after learning how to walk again, he has brought the piece of skull back to Britain in a sterile box in his hand luggage in the hope that British doctors can use it as a mould for a metal plate to reshape his head.
The piece of skull was guarded by a Thai doctor, who flew with Lee to care for him during the flight.
Speaking from Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, Lee, from Stanstead Abbotts, Hertfordshire, told The Sun: "From being 'dead' for two days I came back to life. When my head has healed a bit more they are going to try to put the skull back."
Lee cannot recall how he came to fall from the balcony. He told the Daily Mail: "I can't remember falling - I don't even know if I fell.
"I remember the skull being removed two weeks ago when my dad turned up.
"My dad came over to Thailand and after two days I remember my head sinking into this dip, which was where my skull was missing and I could not believe it.
"I was on so many different drugs then I did not realise they had removed it. I was confused and thought I was just on holiday having a good time.
"I only realised a few weeks later when I met my dad that I had this dip. It was a big shock.
"They put my skull in a box which I brought back from Thailand. They have put bits of it back together and I think they are going to make the same size in a different material.
"In a couple of months, when my head has healed a bit more, they are going to try to lift the skin over it and put it in."
Addenbrooke's Hospital is set to carry out the surgery to replace his missing skull bone with titanium in April.
Lee's father, Peter, told the Daily Mail that nobody knows whether Lee fell or was pushed from the balcony. He said Lee had been in and out of consciousness when he first arrived at the hospital, and "more or less died", adding: "The surgeon examined him and there was no sign of brain activity. They shined a light in his eyes and there was no response.
"As a last effort, they injected some form of drug into him and he coughed. On that basis they decided to try to save him."
Lee says the accident has made him look at his life and "the way I want to carry on now", adding: "I am looking forward to getting out and being able to thank everyone who has been there for me."
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