British backpacker savaged by crocodile in Mexico suffers setback in recovery after being told she can’t fly home to UK for two weeks until her lung is fully healed
- Brit Melissa Laurie narrowly survived being attacked by a crocodile in Mexico
- The 28-year-old was saved when her twin sister Georgia came to her rescue
- She has healed quicker than expected and be discharged from hospital soon
- But she has now been forbidden from flying with a punctured lung for two weeks
- Her parents had hoped she would be able to fly back to the UK with them soon
- Georgia is reluctant to return home halfway through her six-month travels
The British backpacker who narrowly survived being attacked and dragged to the bottom of a lake by a crocodile faces a setback in her recovery, Mail Online has learned.
Brave Melissa Laurie has healed quicker than doctors expected and should be well enough to be released from hospital within days despite suffering numerous injuries when the ten-foot predator dragged her under water in Mexico.
Melissa had hoped to be able to then fly back to the UK with her parents who raced to Mexico to be with her this week – and then to continue to recuperate at the family home in Berkshire.
But now medics have forbidden the 28-year-old zookeeper from flying for at least two weeks as she recovers from a punctured lung.
Taking to the skies before her lung is fully healed, Melissa has been advised, is against airline regulations and also presents a huge risk to her health.
So the family from Sandhurst, Berks, must decide whether parents Sean, 63, and Sue, 62, stay on in Mexico until Melissa is able to fly or whether they return home without her.
Melissa (left) who narrowly survived being attacked and dragged to the bottom of a lake by a crocodile faces a setback in her recovery, Mail Online has learned. Her twin Georgia (right), 28, saved her sister from the crocodile’s jaws
The couple had intended to return to Britain with their daughters early next week when they set out from home last Monday.
But these medical complications have thrown their plans into disarray, a source close to the family has revealed.
They had flown out after sister Georgia had begged her mum to come to Mexico to support her.
Now the intrepid twin – who saved her sister from the jaws of the crocodile – is reluctant to return home half-way through her six-month travels.
The couple spent more than six hours at Melissa’s hospital bedside yesterday while they thrashed it out.
The source told MailOnline: ‘Doctors have told Melissa she cannot fly until her lung is completely healed.
Melissa Laurie’s father Sean (left, with her mother Sue) said the attack has left his daughter with lasting physical and mental scars. The couple have traveled to Mexico to be by her hospital bedside
‘To do so beforehand would not only break airline rules it would also be extremely dangerous. The change in the air pressure could rupture her lung and leave her gasping for breath.
‘Melissa has amazed everyone with how quickly she’s recovered but obviously it’s going to take a lot longer till she’s completely well and she wanted to do the second part of her recovery at home.
‘So this news is obviously disappointing to her but I’m sure she won’t let it get her too down.’
The source added: ‘Sean and Sue want to bring their girls home as soon as they can. They have suffered a terrifying ordeal which has scarred both of them.
‘Melissa has very obvious physical wounds from the attack but Georgia also has mental scars from the experience too. They’ll both be better off at home.’
Pictured: Melissa (left) and Georgia earlier in their trip to Mexico
Sean and Melissa’s mother Sue left their home in Sandhurst, Berkshire, on Monday to be with Melissa in hospital and her twin Georgia, who had saved her sister from the crocodile’s jaws.
Their twin daughters were taken to an unsafe part of the lake where crocodiles were nesting by a rogue tourist guide last week who assured them it was safe to swim.
The parents landed in Mexico on Tuesday and went straight to the hospital to see her.
Georgia sustained wounds to her hand after punching the crocodile during the ordeal on June 6, but was since released from hospital herself. She has been a frequent presence at her sister’s beside during her recovery.
A now-closed GoFundMe campaign set up by the family to cover the twin’s medical expenses raised a whopping £43,813.
In an interview with ITV News on Monday, Georgia said that she and Melissa had been swimming at Manialtepec Lagoon – a coastal lagoon about 18 km west of Puerto Escondido in the State of Oaxaca – with two friends when the crocodile attacked Melissa and dragged her beneath the water.
‘We saw the crocodile and we tried to swim to safety but unfortunately my sister didn’t escape that – so it took her under.
‘We tried to call her name but there was no answer so I went towards my friends and tried to find my friends and then I just saw her body floating towards me.
Georgia (right), who fought off a crocodile as it dragged her twin sister into a Mexican lagoon, has spotted walking near the hospital in between visits
‘I jumped into action with my rescue training that I remember and dragged her body towards me and laid her on my chest and tried to revive and she started going into a fit.
‘And the crocodile came back twice – so I beat it off but the third time is when I sustained the most injuries.’
During the interview, Georgia said that Melissa remembered being dragged underwater in the first crocodile attack, feeling like she was going to drown and thinking her arm was being ripped off.
Georgia explained how a boat with tour guide went past at the right time, but those onboard could not help at the time.
The crocodile then came back, injuring Melissa as it tried to death roll and take her away, but it eventually fled following Georgia’s sustained punching on the nose.
Melissa sustained puncture marks covering her abdomen and legs, along with a fractured wrist, cuts to her stomach and water in her lungs, Georgia said.
She was last week seen walking around the hospital with wounds to her hand – sustained from punching the crocodile during the on June 6 ordeal.
‘It was trying to take her away,’ Georgia said. ‘I punched it in the nose with both fists and it felt hard, like hitting a table, but it scared it off.’
‘No one warned us there were crocodiles there at all. We hadn’t been drinking, there was no alcohol involved.
‘We were just there for a chill-out. Melissa swan off by herself and got into trouble. I didn’t know what was happening but I swan towards her.’
Georgia (left) was comforted by a friend as she left the Angel Del Mar Hospital on Wednesday
The twins and friends are pictured smiling in the hospital following the horrific crocodile attack in Mexico
As she got closer Georgia, a qualified diver, noticed the reptile viciously attacking her sister.
‘I saw her getting jerked around and I saw a croc’s head which was about two feet long. The croc swam off, but kept coming back,’ she said, the Sun reported.
‘That’s when it grabbed her by the leg and got her in a death roll. She went round and round and it was trying to drag her away.
‘I was pounding it, and that’s when it grabbed me and bit my arm. I bashed it with the other hand and it let me go. That happened three times.
‘The croc battle seemed to go on a long time but adrenalin kicked in.’
Melissa was then pulled from the water by Georgia with the help of Moises Salinas, a 16-year-old deck hand on a tour boat named Espatula Rosada.
Salinas jumped into the shallow murky waters along the Manialtepec River and helped pull Melissa onto the boat before rushing her and her sister to an ambulance 20 minutes away.
Once Melissa was on the boat, the extent of her injuries became clear, Georgia said.
‘She had puncture wounds everywhere but wasn’t bleeding out. She was drifting in and out of consciousness.
Melissa Laurie’s parents Sean and Sue and her sister Georgia (third, fifth and fourth from the left respectively) went to the lagoon where she was attacked by a crocodile with representatives of the local tourism industry to show that the area is safe if travelers go with licensed tour guides
Moises Salinas, 16, who works as a helper on a tour boat named Espatula Rosada, jumped into the shallow murky waters along the Manialtepec River to help rescue Melissa
‘The thing that worried me was she was coughing up blood and saying, ‘I’m drowning, I’m drowning’. It was scary, and she screamed too.
‘I thought of how I had seen her face down in the water for a long time, so I was worried how much water she had swallowed.’
Once at hospital, Georgia explained: ‘The doctors were worried about her lungs, because they thought she may have got pneumonia from an infection.
‘I had to sign some papers saying treatment could go ahead, which included an induced coma. That was scary, because it seemed touch and go.’
At the weekend, Melissa spoke about her ordeal for the first time, telling MailOnline in a short voice message from her hospital bed: ‘I am extremely grateful that I came out of this alive.
‘And that I had Georgia fight my side for me.
‘So I am very happy for that.’
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