BANGKOK (AP) — Paul Nicholls, a British actor who starred in the EastEnders soap opera, was stranded in the wild for three days on a Thai island after he fell down a waterfall and broke his kneecap, a rescuer said Thursday.
Nicholls was rescued July 13 on the Thai resort island of Koh Samui after villagers noticed his rented motorcycle had been parked near the waterfall for days.
The 38-year-old actor was taken on a stretcher to Samui International Hospital and later transferred to the government-run Koh Samui Hospital where he is currently being treated.
The head of the rescue team on Koh Samui, Chaiyaporn Sapprasert, said the actor could barely move when rescuers found him after an hourslong search.
Dr. Dulkij Wittayajanyapong, director of Samui International Hospital, said Nicholls' kneecap suffered an open fracture and the wound was starting to putrefy because it was under water for more than two days. Dulkij said the open wound would require 14 days of antibiotic injections before doctors could begin to operate on it. He added that Nicholls has yet to pay initial treatment fees that stand at 46,000 baht ($1,365).
The district chief of Koh Samui, Narong Yuttitam, said the accident would not have taken place if Nicholls had abided by danger signs placed near the secluded waterfall.
"Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time if we do not stay vigilant," Narong said.
Nicholls also has yet to pay an outstanding bill of 43,831 baht ($1,300) at Koh Samui Hospital, said its director, Dr. Theerasak Wiriyanont, adding that it would cost a total of around 100,000 baht ($2,970) to replace Nicholls' kneecap.