Aussie lucky to be alive after horror fall in Mexican cave
A GOLD Coast woman has been stranded in Mexico for more than month with three breaks to her femur after she fell in a remote cave.
The accident near San Luis Potosí left Alicia Stamford in intensive care and unable to return to Australia for the funeral of her mother, Sharon.
The 33-year-old, who worked in marketing before travelling overseas, was hiking with friends in central Mexico on September 9 when she fell in a remote location outside of mobile phone range, leaving her right arm and left leg pinned.
"I fell down and hit the rocks with every part of my body before landing face down," she said, speaking to the Bulletin by phone from San Luis Potosí in central Mexico.
"I knew I had broken something instantly and my first thoughts went to the fact that I couldn't have been any further from help."
As the hours ticked past, Ms Stamford said she lost hope that she would make it home.
"In the cave I got to a point where I didn't think I would ever get out. I said to them, leave me here. It's getting dark, it's getting cold, we are in the middle of the Mexican desert and I do not want anyone else to die because of me," she said.
Ms Stamford was rescued six hours later suffering from hypothermia and dehydration and was taken to a hospital two hours away.
The Gold Coaster had fractured her femur in three places and her upper right arm.
She said an operation to heal the injuries went badly and she lost a significant amount of blood and nearly died in the intensive care unit.
When Ms Stamford woke following a second operation she was told her mother had died after years of ill health, including degenerative osteoporosis.
"Lying in ICU and hearing the first operation didn't work and hearing news of my mother passing away, I remember screaming every night, 'why didn't you leave me there?'," she said. "I still think that every few days."
As a teenager, Ms Stamford had cared for her mother and younger siblings, twins Shari and Blake.
"They kept the news about my mum from me for several days because they didn't think I would make it through the surgery if I knew," she said.
"After the second surgery, I knew something was wrong. I could see it on my partner's face.
"The funeral was had. I didn't get a chance to write anything or share any memories.
"My mother didn't have money either so my sister had to raise the money for a funeral. I couldn't be there for my baby sister and brother to support them."
Ms Stamford is out of hospital but will be bedridden and unable to travel for at least two months when her bones will have healed enough to fly back to Australia.
"I left everything to go travelling. I don't have a job, a home or a mum to come back to," she said.
"I found the love of my life here but going back will mean we are separated."
A fundraising campaign has been set up to cover Ms Stamford's return to Australia.
To contribute, Click here.