BALI – A young couple from Newcastle have suffered “devastating” injuries while on holidays in Bali, after they were thrown from a motorcycle in a cowardly hit-and-run accident.
Tori Van de Stadt, 25, and her boyfriend Louis Macindoe, 26, were “left for dead” after a car struck them from behind last Wednesday, while they were on their way back from dinner on their final night in Bali.
Family members say it was a miracle that two good Samaritans with medical training found their motorbike “folded in half” in the middle of the road and then discovered the pair bleeding and unconscious in a nearby ditch.
“The guy that found Tori had to keep her airways open for over an hour until the ambulance arrived because her face was so smashed up,” Tori’s mother, Tracey Priestley said.
“Even Louis would have bled to death had someone not found them. We don’t know how long they were there for.”
Tori has been left with devastating facial and spinal injuries, and will undergo a full facial reconstruction at Royal Perth Hospiral on Wednesday.
Tori will not be woken from an induced coma until after the surgery – which is expected to take around eight hours – is complete.
She has already had a blood transfusion and gone under the knife to repair damage to her spine.
Tori’s recovery is expected to take many months, but Ms Priestley said her daughter was lucky the skin itself had only sustained a few cuts and doctors expected her to regain full mobility.
“At the moment we can’t really do much, other than hold her hand and talk to her. It’s a bit scary but we’re trying to stay positive,” Ms Priestley said.
Louis is a graphic designer and the editor of Transfer, an Australian and New Zealand snowboarding magazine.
His mother has flown to Bali to be with him while he recovers from a fractured eye socket, a deep cut to his head and significant blood loss.
On Tuesday, Louis posted a touching tribute to his girlfriend on Instagram, alongside the last photo he took of her in Bali.
“This was the last photo I had on my phone before the incident that resulted in both of us becoming hospitalised,” he wrote.
“I’ve been operated on and gathered enough sense to operate my phone, sort of. Tori is still undergoing surgery and I need for you all to be still keeping her in your thoughts.
“It’s hard to get any purchase on what happened given the circumstances, it’s the first time in my life that I’ve come that close to wiping out completely.
“While you might consider yourself to be pretty well versed on two wheels, sometimes your number can just be up.
“I’m completely overwhelmed with happiness knowing how much love and support has come from you all. The next little while will be particularly challenging for Tori as she makes her recovery.”
Tori is well known in hospitality circles as the manager of family-run Mexican restaurant Casa De Loco, in Newcastle East.
Since the accident there has been an outpouring of generosity for her online, with a GoFundMe page raising close to $60,000 to cover the medical bill of airlifting her from a Balinese hospital to Perth, and for accommodation while they maintain a bedside vigil.
Louis’ father Rob said his condition would need to be assessed properly when he returned to Newcastle within the next few days.
“He’s only just getting himself together and he’s got to worry about Tori,” Mr Macindoe said.
“All the groundswell has been for Tori’s fight because she’s so injured and the costs to the family have been massive.”
Ms Priestley said while the family still felt as though they were living a nightmare, they were grateful for the community’s generosity and a series of coincidences that probably saved her daughter’s life.
Two English army veterans with medical experience were first on the scene after the accident, and two Dutch nurses were also able to render assistance.
An Australian man who lives and works in Bali took charge at the crash scene, made contact with the families and even paid for some of the medical treatment.
“What they did was pretty incredible and we are so blessed that they just appeared when something so horrific had happened,” she said.
“We were apprehensive about her flying, but we got a plane that had a full ICU unit with a doctor and nurse, I cannot commend them enough.
“The minute she arrived in Perth, we realised it was the right thing to do. With the communication barriers in Bali it was really hard to understand what was going on, and they actually missed quite a few things that were wrong with her.”
Tori has five older siblings and Ms Priestley said they were distraught.
“They all love each other so much, we’ve always been a really close family,” she said.
Tori’s friends described her as a “bubbly” and “do anything for anyone” type of person, with an adventurous nature and a genuine zest for life.
“Victoria’s just such a kind person, she’s always the first to help someone in need,” Ms Priestley said.
“She’s travelled so much on her own. Then she goes away to Bali with her boyfriend for one week, and it’s the one time you think you don’t have to worry about her.”
The couple met at primary school but only became romantically involved when they reconnected in the past 12 months.
Mr Macindoe said his son had a background in enduro racing and had grown up from an early age with bikes.
“He’s no idiot, he would not have been doing anything silly on the road, he is always so careful with Tori,” he said.
“Tori was all dressed up to go out because it was their last night in town.”