London man suffers appalling injuries in Ayia Napa

A British man suffered catastrophic injuries while on holiday in Ayia Napa after a buggy ride went horribly wrong.

Andre Franco, from Camden, north London, had rented the buggy with three other friends in the popular Cypriot party resort when the life-changing accident happened on 21 May.

Mr Franco, 22, and a friend were both thrown off the back seat when the driver reportedly took a bend too fast.

While his friend only suffered scratches from the fall, Mr Franco cracked his head open, bled heavily and suffered major swelling to his brain.

His devastated family have now set up a GoFundMe page in an attempt to raise thousands to help pay for Mr Franco’s medical costs to fly him home.

He will need specialist medical aviation to get back to London, which could cost anywhere between £15,000 and £32,000, depending on whether he recovers enough to be able to sit up for take-off and landing.

Mr Franco’s mother, Isabel Franco, said she was too shocked to speak after one of Mr Franco’s friends called her to tell her about the accident.

She said: “I don’t know the feeling. I think I had no feelings at all because I’m scared to have feelings. I didn’t panic, I was like stuck.”

Mr Franco, who used to part-time in Urban Outfitters and play for Gospel Oak FC, has been unable to walk or talk since the accident.

His godmother, Susana Costa, said her godson looked “peaceful” when the family arrived at Nicosia General Hospital in Ayia Napa days after his fall.

She said: “Even though he’s still intubated and on and off he’s animated, moving his legs, arms, his body. But it’s still early days to know for sure.

“We’ve asked him questions, he shakes his head for ‘no’ and nods for ‘yes’. We’ve asked him some random questions, just about us, ‘do you know who we are?’ We make jokes.

“We’ve seen some expressions in his face which could be classed as a smile I suppose. I don’t know if it’s just wishful thinking or what it is, but he does answer us, yes or no.”

Mr Franco has undergone a series of major operations, including one to remove part of his skull to allow space for his brain to swell without pushing against the bone.

Although the initial shock wasn’t as bad as the two women had expected, it soon dawned on them that Mr Franco might not make a full recovery.

Ms Costa said: “At the moment the doctors are not telling us much because they don’t really know. At this point, it’s touch and go.”

She said doctors were being “very reserved” about any prognosis until Mr Franco’s brain swelling has reduced.

But his mum and godmother say they have some cause for hope as the hospital have said Mr Franco was becoming more active.

Ms Costa said two of the boys he was on holiday with have been incredibly “distressed and supportive” since the accident, texting her every other day, and one of them has donated a huge sum of money to the fundraising page.

She added: “We understand that they are young kids and they do stuff like that.

“We just want to get him home.”