Doncaster woman left fighting for her life after 15 stone gas canister falls on her face

Laurie Jay Balfour pictured (far right) just hours before she was involved in a freak accident during which a gas cannister fell on her face and has left her in a critical condition.
Laurie Jay Balfour pictured (far right) just hours before she was involved in a freak accident during which a gas cannister fell on her face and has left her in a critical condition.
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A Doncaster woman has spoken of the horrifying moment her friend was almost killed when a 15-stone gas canister fell on her as she danced in a club during a girls’ holiday to Greece.

Laurie Jay Balfour, aged 24, was two days into a holiday to Zanti in Greece with pals Claire Tomlinson, Amy Renton, Billie Taylor and Lauren Brown when three of the group of friends visited a nightclub on the Laganas strip.

But within minutes of arriving, tragedy struck when Laurie, aged 24, suddenly fell somehow dislodging a 15-stone nitrogen canister ‘perched’ on the bar nearby which fell onto her face.

Friend Lauren Brown said: “Claire turned round and saw what had happened to Laurie and said there was that much blood there that it looked like a murder scene.”

Read more: Foreign office confirm they are offering support to Doncaster woman seriously injured in Greece

The 24-year-old added: “Her eye immediately swelled, blood was pouring out her broken nose as she lay there.

“The bar staff acted quickly and there was a medical centre two doors down.

“They attached a mask to Laurie to aid her breathing and called an ambulance to take her to the hospital.

“Afterwards the doctors said that if the medical centre wasn’t there that she wouldn’t have made it.

“The doctors would only speak to immediate family. We were waiting there for five hours, sobbing and not knowing what would happen. They kept saying to us ‘it’s a big disaster, it’s a big disaster’ when we asked how she was. We thought she was dead.”

Laurie, of Edlington, was airlifted to a hospital in Athens by an army jet where medics performed emergency brain surgery to save her life in the early hours of the morning after the incident, on August 3.

Lauren added: “Fluid had gathered on the brain and she had a bleed so the hospital had to remove part of Laurie’s skull to allow any swelling not make matters worse.

“Laurie is such a funny, bubbly and caring person, I really can’t believe this has happened to her.

“She would do anything for anyone, she’s such a good person.”

Laurie’s mum, Deana flew out to be by her only daughter’s side the same day, later joined by dad, Philip.

The 24-year-old is currently in a coma, following her brain surgery.

Lauren, who arrived back in Doncaster this morning, says Laurie is still fighting for her life but has shown some ‘small signs’ of brain activity over the last 48 hours, giving her loved ones hope she will be able to pull through.

She said the family will be unable to move Laurie from hospital in Athens until she has woken from the coma or begun to show significant signs of recovery.

Lauren and fellow holidaymaker Claire Tomlinson have set up a fundraising page which has already brought in more than £4,000 to help the family.

Lauren added: “I can’t imagine what her parents are going through, she’s their only child and this has been so awful for everyone.

“We just want to be able to help them with whatever they need, because it’s going to be a long road to recovery for Laurie, and who knows how long it’s going to take.

“The insurance company have been informed and are hopefully going to pay out for her medical treatment, but at the moment her parents are having to pay for everything out of their own pockets.

“And who knows what she’s going to need when she comes home.”

* Anyone wishing to donate money to Laurie and her family should visit Laurie’s Recovery - Facebook page for more information.