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Coronavirus: Injured man stranded in Sri Lanka after collision with bus

PUBLISHED: 12:50 28 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:57 28 March 2020

Joseph Beales, from Attleborough, is stranded in hospital in Sri Lanka Picture: Caroline Beales

Joseph Beales, from Attleborough, is stranded in hospital in Sri Lanka Picture: Caroline Beales

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A 23-year-old Norfolk man is stranded in hospital with life-changing injuries thousands of miles from home after a motorcycle accident.

Civil engineer Joe Beales flew out to Sri Lanka for a three-week holiday on February 16.

MORE - Sign up for the latest updates about coronavirus in Norfolk

But on February 29, his bike was involved in a collision with a bus near Tangalle, in the south of the island.

He suffered two broken bones in his right leg, serious wounds and has had to have his spleen removed.

Mr Beales, from Attleborough, remains in hospital in the capital, Colombo, where his mother Caroline, 56 and older brother Alastair, 30 flew out to be with him on March 13.

But after a week they were told the leave the country because of the coronavirus pandemic and returned home to Norfolk on Thursday.

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Mr Beales’s father Mervyn, 66, said: “Joe is now completely on his own, in hospital, in Sri Lanka.

“Arrangements are being made to Medevac him back to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

“However, the speed at which this is happening is alarming given his overall health problems. His mental state is beginning to deteriorate rapidly.”

Mr Beales, a semi-retired civil servant, said medical reports have been sent to the NNUH.

MORE - Hospital sets up coronavirus incident room

But the insurance company dealing with his repatriation is now involved in trying to get his visa extended as he has overstayed his 30 days in the country.

“The insurance company has indicated the visa situation may not be resolved until 3rd April, nearly another week away,” said Mr Beales. “I dread to think what Joe’s mental state will be by then.”

The family, from The Coppice, contacted Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman on March 17. Mr Freeman referred the matter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Beales have contacted the FCO, but have only received a standard automated response.

Mr Beales said: “I appreciate the coronavirus worldwide situation is proving very difficult for everyone but for Joe, alone, and in a very serious medical situation, urgent action is necessary.”

We have contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for an update.


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