British girl breaks back in Thai speedboat crash


A promising young British actress suffered a broken back after being catapulted from the top deck of a speedboat in a horror smash in Thailand.

Pretty Ellie Hocken, 19, was on a gap year with three pals and was travelling to an island beach party when the two boats collided.

The force of the crash threw her from the top deck and knocked her unconscious as she hit the water.

Aspiring actress Ellie, from Bristol, was among 39 passengers taken to hospital following the incident. Two people are still missing feared dead.

Ellie’s parents David and Poppy flew out to Thailand on Sunday to be at Ellie’s bedside.

Dr Hocken, a consultant general and vascular surgeon at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, said: ”When the crash happened, she was on the top deck of the boat.

”The sea was very rough. Suddenly someone screamed ‘They’re going to hit us.’

”There was a huge smash and everyone was thrown overboard. Ellie blacked out and when she woke up, she was alone in the water.

”She is still terrified even now.”

Ellie, who is part-way through a round-the-world gap year tour, was travelling with three British friends to a ‘full moon party’ in Koh Pha Ngan late on Saturday night.

Provincial police officer Adipong Tapee said of the 42 revellers injured, 39 were hospitalised, including four Britons, four Australians and four Singaporeans.

The force of the collision threw Ellie overboard where she lost consciousness.

She came round in the water and managed to swim to a nearby boat where she was ferried to hospital and treated for a broken back.

Yesterday, her condition was described as stable.

Dr Hocken added: ”They’ve seen her and assessed her as stable but there’s no more news for now.”

Ellie is a talented actress and has been a member of the Theatre Royal’s Young People Theatre company, taking part in numerous productions across the South West.

In a cruel twist of fate, Ellie’s mother Poppy, who is separated from her husband, is a nurse who specialises in bringing people home after they have been injured holidaying abroad.

Ellie has three siblings, Bethany, Alex and Matt, who is a freelance sports journalist and is due to play the lead role in the Theatre Royal’s production of Ben Hur in October.

Poppy has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity in the past by taking part in endurance challenges.

She has scaled Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro, trekked across the Andes and has walked 100km of the Great Wall of China.


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