Thursday, 18 Jul 2024

Man's lip ripped off as backflip goes horribly wrong

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A British holidaymaker has proved the importance of taking out holiday insurance after a stunt left him needing reconstructive surgery.

Macaulay Burke flew to Altinkum in Turkey with nine other family members for a week-long holiday at a five star resort, and they decided to enjoy a beach-hopping boat trip around the coast of Didim on July 19.

Macaulay, 28, decided a dip in the sea was in order and went to backflip off the middle deck – but before he could land in the water he says a sudden wave caused the boat to jolt, and he smashed into the side of it.

He swam back to the boat with help from another swimmer, not realising the extent of the damage.

Macaulay, a butcher, suffered a broken nose, dislocated jaw, and both his right nostril and bottom lip were ripped off, exposing his jaw bone.

He was rushed to hospital where he underwent reconstructive surgery to have his face put back together – and doctors told him if he didn’t have a ‘strong’ neck and shoulders he could have snapped his neck and died on impact.

He’s now urging everyone to take out insurance when they go on holiday, after buying a last-minute policy for £10.80 which saved him from hospital bills potentially reaching £50,000.

Macaulay, from Warwick in Warwickshire, said: ‘I had been excited to go away and had been buzzing for months and months on the lead up to it. It wasn’t a mad party holiday, it was meant to be a relaxing one with family.


‘I did the backflip at the first stop [on the excursion], which was about 25 minutes into the journey. We had been messing about all holiday doing backflips in the pool and that was all perfectly fine.

‘As I did the backflip, I could see the boat. As soon as I took off I knew it was going to end badly, there was not much reaction time. The boat hit me straight in the face.

‘I’m lucky I didn’t knock myself out. I was in the water and I was very dazed and I knew something bad had happened.

‘I smashed my face and instantly broke my nose and tore my lip away from the gum. I dislocated my jaw and managed to tear my gums apart so you could see the jaw bone.

‘At first I thought I’d be okay and I was just going to stay on the boat. I played rugby for years so I have a good pain threshold and have broken my nose multiple times.

‘But when I looked in the mirror all I could see was blood, I was just swallowing so much blood. I knew my nose was broken as it was just really wide and I had torn my right nostril.

‘It pulled my nose piercing out and I had a flap of skin on my right nostril that was torn and I managed to smash a hole into my upper lip.

‘I was told when I got back that I was so lucky.

‘I go to the gym quite a lot and train and they said that if I didn’t have a strong neck and shoulders, I could have snapped my neck and be in a very different position.

‘A doctor said I could be dead if I had snapped my neck on impact. I think if anyone was slightly smaller or skinnier than me, they could be in a different situation.’

After two days in hospital and 50 stitches in his face, Macaulay was told he was fit to fly home on July 22.

He’s been back and forth to hospital since returning home to see facial reconstruction specialists.

But while he’s lucky his injuries were not worse, Macaulay is also thankful his hospital bills were much lower than they could have been.

 He added: ‘I’m not entirely sure how much everything cost me. I’ve heard a few different sums but I mean you can gather the price from just the ambulance trip alone, which was £750.

‘I had facial reconstruction which is going to be a hell of a lot of money. I estimate it’ll be well over £50,000.

‘You need to get insurance, even if you think you’re not going to hurt yourself. I was on a family holiday and it just goes to show that anything can happen unexpectedly and for £10 it can save your life.

‘I am very thankful to the surgeons and the insurance company for helping me out. It could have been a very different story.

‘They did a brilliant job in Turkey. My nose hasn’t been this straight since before playing rugby. People go out to Turkey to get a nose job. I had mine done but in a very different situation.’

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